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The gentle beasts which are also known as man’s best friends are not immune to diseases. Canine influenza or dog flu is a particularly common illness affecting a major population of dogs and even cats. The viral strain can be traced back to horses in racing grounds. The influenza strain H3N8 is said to have evolved and latched on to the racing greyhounds present in proximity to the horses. In Asian countries, influenza got carried over to dogs through a strain of avian flu virus present in the live-market birds. The virus is said to be highly contagious and it is possible that two dogs may have a completely different strain of virus making them sick.Understanding the Infection
The virus attacks the respiratory tract of the host canine deteriorating the cells of their nasal cavity. This can lead to an inflammatory reaction which may further cause bronchitis and tracheitis. Mild to heavy nasal discharge, lethargy, breathlessness and cough are the major clinical symptoms. In some cases, the host may even develop a fever. The influenza can also result in pneumonia if severe. Some dogs may be carrying a strain of the virus but show virtually no sign of illness.How to Take Care of Your Furry Buddy
During a canine flu outbreak, the only way to diagnose it is through clinical tests. If you notice that your dog has developed a wet cough and has a constant nasal discharge, it is advisable to rush to a nearby veterinarian and get them tested. The course of treatment can only be identified after biology of the strain has been studied since this virus is notorious for evolving depending upon the breed it affects. Cold patches to cool down your dog if they are running a fever, as well as cough suppressants, are usually given to manage the symptoms. The doctors advise good rest, proper hydration and a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to ensure a healthy recovery. Since the strain is passed on from other dogs, it is advisable to keep them isolated for a chance to get better soon.Prevention is better than Cure
The foremost known cause of canine influenza is interaction with another dog which has been affected by the virus. Owners should make sure that their dogs don’t mingle with seemingly sick ones. Regular checkups with the vet also help in diagnosing the disease faster. Owners should always wash their hands or change their clothes after any interaction with a stranger's dog. Proper vaccination is also imperative to eradicate the disease early. Since the disease is known to affect the respiratory system first, make sure your dog has his snout and mouth covered with a mask while walking them.