Can you catch the flu from your dog?

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The flu is wreaking havoc across the nation this season, and it’s not just impacting humans.

Dogs are getting sick too.


In a little over a month there’s been more than 100 canines have tested positive for the highly contagious dog flu in California, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.  

There hasn’t been a case of humans being infected with the dog flu, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. 

In the past 45 days, more than 100 dogs have tested positive for the canine flu

In the past 45 days, more than 100 dogs have tested positive for the canine flu

The dog flu is similar to the kinds of viruses that infect humans, and have nearly identical symptoms including, runny nose, cough, fatigue and loss of appetite.

The severity of the dog flu can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death. However, most dogs recover within two to three weeks, according to the CDC.  

The canine influenza can be easily spread among dogs in parks, kennels and shelters through coughing and sneezing, or touching contaminated materials.

According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 72 dogs tested positive for the flu in California, 22 in Kentucky, 14 in Ohio and one in Michigan.  

There are two different dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus — which is different from the human virus.

The two strains are responsible for the 2015 dog flu outbreak in Chicago which affected more than 1,000 dogs, and killed five dogs.

However, dog owners shouldn’t worry about the dog flu in this season because it’s not worse than it has been historically, according to Amy Glaser, director of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center. 

The death rate for the dog flu is quite low, killing less than 10 percent of the dogs it’s infected, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

Dogs infected with the flu are contagious to other dogs for three to four weeks, according to experts from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. 

To prevent transmission Glaser said any dog with respiratory disease should be isolated from other canines.

‘There is no way to tell if the illness the dog is experiencing is influenza by examination and respiratory disease in dogs has many causes,’ she explained.     

There’s no evidence of humans catching the highly contagious dog flu, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza viruses are constantly changing and it’s ‘possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans’. 

However, Glaser told Daily Mail Online that’s unlikely to happen based on the dog flu’s genetic makeup.

In fact, she said humans should be careful not to pass on the flu to their pets.

We need to be aware that dogs and cats can sometimes be infected with human strains of influenza,’ Glaser said. ‘So, if you have the flu, be aware that you could give it to your pet!’ 

However, other experts say dogs contracting a human strain of the flu is rare. 

A simple swab test at the veterinarian’s office can determine whether a dog has the flu.

Dog owners can protect their pet from the dog flu by getting them vaccinated against both strains of the virus.





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