Our staff recently learned that a dog in this area contracted canine parainfluenza, also known as dog flu. To protect your dog from this contagious upper respiratory infection, it is important to get a vaccine every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), canine parainfluenza is an avian flu that originated in horses and adapted to infect dogs. It is not possible for dogs to transmit the virus to humans.
How Dogs Pick Up the Parainfluenza Virus
Canine parainfluenza is most prevalent in dogs who spend a lot of time in shelters or kennels. However, any unvaccinated dog is at risk of acquiring it. The virus spreads when an uninfected dog has direct contact with respiratory secretions, such as droplets from sneezing or coughing, of an infected dog. Your dog could also pick up the virus through contact with a contaminated object such as a chew toy, equipment, bedding, or pet clothing. If your dog does gets the virus, you need to clean and disinfect all contaminated items and isolate her from other dogs in the community until the symptoms have passed.
Symptoms and Treatment for Canine Parainfluenza
A cough, fever, and runny nose are the most common indicators that your dog has picked up this virus. However, some dogs don’t display any symptoms while others become severely ill and go on to develop pneumonia. If you suspect a respiratory infection in your dog, please schedule an appointment with Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic right away. We will evaluate your dog and let you know if he does indeed have the disease.
Most dogs who test positive for parainfluenza can be successfully treated with medication and comfort care. It is important to keep an eye on your dog to ensure that she remains hydrated and comfortable. Your dog may require an antibiotic if she has developed a secondary bacterial infection in addition to the flu.
Prevention is Best
Just as many people get flu shots annually, dogs should get a yearly vaccine to protect them from this uncomfortable and potentially serious illness. Please contact us with any additional questions or to schedule your dog’s annual parainfluenza vaccine.
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