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Canine Flu FAQ

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How easy is it for my dog to catch?

The virus is contagious-spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions. Thus far, most outbreaks have occurred between dogs who are kept in large numbers in relatively close quarters, such as greyhounds at racing tracks. The risk of infection in a canine who does not attend dog shows or frequent kennels is fairly low. However, because this is a recently emerged disease, there is no natural or vaccine-induced immunity-so all dogs are susceptible.

I think my dog may have caught Canine Flu. How do I know for sure?

The symptoms of canine influenza closely resemble those seen with other respiratory diseases, such as kennel cough. Because of this, kennel cough can potentially be mistaken for canine flu. 

While there is currently no reliable rapid test available to veterinarians for diagnosing canine influenza, tests are available at certain diagnostic labs. For more information, contact your local veterinarian.

Can people get Canine Flu?

There is no evidence to date demonstrating that the canine influenza virus can be spread from dogs to humans. It is typically uncommon for a virus to “travel” from one species of animal to another, and then become infectious among individuals of the second species with normally functioning immune systems.

What can people do to help prevent spreading Canine Flu from one dog to another?

Any dog infected with Canine Flu or as any other respiratory disease should be kept away from other dogs until the illness completely resolves.

Solutions as simple as soap and water are effective disinfectants for eliminating the virus from surfaces. To help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, gloves should be worn when handling infected dogs or cleaning contaminated cages.

Where can I go for additional information about Canine Flu?

For more information about canine influenza, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association's Canine Influenza Page

WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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