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Dog flu has taken a hold of our poor dogs. It is our responsibility as an animal owner to protect them by vaccinating them. This post is part of the Insider’s Program on Bloggy Moms. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
Owning a dog or any animal for that matter is like having a child. If you have a child, you go to the doctor and get their vaccinations. Why do we do this? To protect against diseases and viruses that could kill them. With a dog, this means vet visits and vaccinations. As a pet owner you should speak with your veterinarian and discuss the vaccinations your pet needs based on his/her individual lifestyle factors.
I recently lost my dog Blaze, not to dog flu though. She ended up having seizures most likely from a brain tumor. While she was 12 years old, she still meant the world to me, and she still does. At the slightest hint of something wrong, I was speeding to the veterinarian’s office. When she started having her seizures, I could not get her to the vet fast enough, there was nothing we could do but make her comfortable. The day she passed will forever be in my heart and burned into my memory. She had four seizures that day. Blaze would not eat or drink, and she just stared into space. Her poor body was done, so I had to do the responsible dog owner task of having her put to sleep. It still hurts to this day, and will probably hurt for the rest of my life.
She had all her vaccinations every year like clockwork. I even had the Bordetella given to her, even though she was never put into a kennel or around other dogs. I never took her to dog parks or out in public settings, because I did not want her to get ticks or something else. If you have ever had a dog like a Pomeranian, you know ticks are extra hard to get out. I did this as a precaution. Just in case of an emergency where I would have to kennel her for some reason.
What is Dog Flu?
Plain and simple, it is a dog flu. The dog flu is a high contagious virus that spreads quickly from dog-to-dog. How do humans protect against the flu? We vaccinate against it, and we should be vaccinating our dogs too from it. There are 2 known strains of the dog flu. H3N8 originally was a horse flu that scientists believe was transferred to dogs. Then, in 2015, a new strain of the dog flu was discovered; this is the H3N2 virus. Our four-legged fur babies have no immunities to these viruses, and with no immunities, they are susceptible to contracting the virus very easily. If we vaccinate our dogs now, they have protection from both strains of dog flu. We have the power and education now to stop this virus from spreading. Just like we did with polio, measles, mumps and now chicken pox.
As a child, I had chicken pox four times. Luckily the fourth time, I had a very severe case and never got it again, but now I am susceptible to shingles. Today, kids are vaccinated for chicken pox. My child will never know the pain, fevers, headaches, itching and 24-hour-a-day discomfort.
Prevention is the major key here. We can easily protect against this from happening to our dogs. From the veterinarian offices that I called, the price ranges from $35 to $45 to vaccinate against dog flu. It saves your dog from weeks of discomfort and pain. The vaccine protects your dog from possibly giving the virus to other dogs. It also aids in the control of the disease associated with dog flu, which in severe cases could lead to pneumonia and possibly death. There is no price that I would not pay to protect my dog from dying from something like that.
Signs of Dog Flu
Now our dogs are transmitting dog flu around, just like a human does. By coming in direct contact with the virus. Unlike our flu, which is seasonal, there is no season for the dog flu. That means it can happen at any time of the year, leaving our pets vulnerable and susceptible all the time. They can pick up the dog flu at the kennel, dog park, walking in the grass or being in contact with any surface that an infected dog has come in contact with or sneezed on. Our dogs could also pick up this virus at home. So, if you have one dog with the virus, you need to keep it quarantined from your other dogs if it is showing signs.
Signs include fever, nasal discharge, low energy, eating less, eye discharge, sneezing, stuffy nose and a persistent cough. That is if your dog shows signs. Some dogs show no signs at all, they just continue to spread the virus. If your dog shows no signs, then you have no clue that they even have it. Your dog could spread dog flu to other dogs for up to three weeks. What if you could protect against this in your dog, would you? I know I would. Prevention is all it takes. A simple vaccine can help protect your dog, and also prevent any secondary infections that could occur as a result of a dog flu infection, such as pneumonia.
Treatment of Dog Flu
A vet can offer supportive care but there is no actual treatment. Push fluids, maybe some medications to help some of the signs, but there is no actual cure, other than time. All while hoping not to pass it on to our friends and families’ dogs if they are close.
Again, prevention is the magical factor here. If we can prevent it before it happens, then we will not have to worry about treatment.
How You Can Help
First, educate yourself on dog flu and vaccinate your dog. It is that simple. If you choose not to vaccinate your dog, then make sure your dog is not around other dogs. Second, educate your friends. Even those who do not have dogs. Knowledge is power. We can prevent another epidemic from happening.
Natalie Marks, D.V.M. saw firsthand during the Chicago epidemic how bad this virus is and how quickly it spreads. She stated, that as co-owner of Blum Animal Medical Hospital in Chicago, they were seeing up to 15 cases a day of dog flu. That is only her office. According to the Yellow Pages, there are approximately 150 veterinarian offices in Chicago. Let’s do some simple math here. That is a possibility of 2,250 cases diagnosed in a single day, in one city, in one state. Now imagine this on a country-wide level.
Merck Animal Health & The Dogist
You should also download @MerckAnimalHealth and @thedogist If This Dog Could Talk: Tour to Prevent Dog Flu album. Merck Animal Health partnered with The Dogist, the creator of the renowned photo documentary series, to help spread the word about dog flu. Also, do your own research. Dogflu.com is a great site for up to date information. Download the Full Tour Album here.
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