It turns out- you really can be as sick as a dog.
The Elgin-Essex Health Unit have reported that 2 dogs are confirmed to have been ill with a strain of canine influenza . The dogs originally from South Korea, made their way through the United States to Canada late last month. One dog seemed sick on arrival. Showing symptoms of a respiratory infection, the canine was sent to the vets for a check-up. Scott Weese is a professor of biopathology at the University of Guelph. Weese has been working alongside the primary veterinarian to assess and understand the flu.
Weese says it’s nothing more than a common flu for humans.
“They tend to get runny eyes, runny nose, fever, tend to feel a little run down. Most of the time they tend to get over it in a few days or a week or so.”
It’s apparent when man’s best friend is feeling sick. Other symptoms include lethargy, coughing and sneezing and loss of appetite. According to Weese the flu is highly transmissible between dogs. When dogs come in close contact with each other, the risk increases immensely. He also adds that due to lack of pet ailments in Canada, flu vaccinations for pets is very low.
“ We don’t have dogs that have been exposed to flu before and very few that have been vaccinated. Most of our dog population is susceptible to it.”
Weese notes that because most of the canine population is not vaccinated, if an outbreak ever occurred it would affect many dogs. Due to a dog’s nature of being up close and personal, getting their nose into everything could be a danger.
Prevention measures are “a lot of common sense”. Weese says hygiene, avoiding sick dogs, and keeping your sick dog at home are key.
Although there is a risk for a potential hybrid of dog-human flu, it is very low. Weese and other professionals look into cases like these to insure they are certain on the strain, and how many dogs it effects.