Just like people, dogs are at risk of developing the flu. Canine flu virus is a growing problem throughout the US because of increased interaction between individual dogs and among shelter dog populations. Canine flu virus spreads through airborne particles and contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of canine flu vary but may include fever, runny nose and cough. A percentage of infected dogs will not exhibit any symptoms and a small percentage of canine flu sufferers will go on to develop pneumonia.
Petfinder.com Foundation and Merck, manufacturer of the canine flu vaccine, recently teamed up to provide free flu vaccine to 1400 animal shelters as part of a new initiative, Building Community Immunity. If your dog comes in frequent contact with other dogs through dog day care, training, boarding or other interaction, you may want to talk with your vet about the pros and cons of canine flu vaccine. If you are adopting a pet from your local shelter, be sure to talk with your adoption supervisor about recent flu outbreaks so that you are able to provide the very best care and support for your new family member as well as existing ones.
You can help prevent the spread of canine flu virus (any many other diseases) by disinfecting surfaces frequently and managing your dog's health closely. If you suspect that your dog has the flu, contact your veterinarian immediately and keep your pet away from other dogs until he or she has recovered.