Many pet lovers treat their furry friends like human companions, but few dog owners understand that this season’s human flu has an equally infectious form for pets.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs and also cats,” and it’s increasing among the pet population this season.
Puppy flu affects animals much like its human counterpart but it’s often hard to detect. Even the most devoted dog owners can misinterpret the symptoms — sneezing, coughing, lethargy and fever — as simply a “dog day” of laziness and rest.
According to AVMA, the dog flu spreads through the air similarly to this year’s human influenza.
“Your pet might be at risk if you frequent dog parks, board your dog, go to the groomer or use pet daycare,” Dr. Phillip Brown, a veterinarian in Springfield, Missouri, told NBC affiliate KWQC.
Flu fear, however, is no reason to miss out on puppy playtime. The virus has been a part of the dog world for years, it’s rarely deadly, and it cannot infect humans.
Protect yourself, your family and your furry friends this flu season.