Canine flu in Canada: What canine house owners must know

Veterinarian Shadi Ireifej treats a dog at the United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Campbell. Ireifej says he's seen 50 dogs with flu-like symptoms in the past two weeks

Veterinarian Shadi Ireifej treats a dog at the United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Campbell. Ireifej says he's seen 50 dogs with flu-like symptoms in the past two weeks

It's not just humans that can get the flu - your dog can too.

SFGate reported that the two strains of dog flu - H3N2 and H3N8 - didn't come to California until 2017, with one case reported in Sacramento.

Frandle recommended vaccination during a Q&A with Mercury News, adding that owners should keep their dogs away from other animals.

What are the symptoms of dog flu that I need to look for?

She said, like the human flu, it takes a few days to see the symptoms once they are exposed.

"Dogs will get a fever, they'll feel kind of run down, they'll get a runny nose, runny eyes, and a cough".

"We live out in the country and this is sort of a treat for her to come and socialize with the other dogs", said Mike Froke from Los Molinos, who was at Degarmo Dog Park Thursday in Chico. That's more likely in dogs that already have other diseases: "respiratory disease, heart disease or other things that make them more likely to get a serious illness", he said.

Just like with the human flu, canine flu spreads easily.

A paper published in 2014 in the journal Archives of Virology found that dogs in China showed immunological signs of having been infected by the human influenza viruses that caused the seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The vet stressed how easily this virus is spread between canines, so try to avoid taking your pet around large groups of dogs. "So close, sharing items like toys and food bowls will let this virus spread really readily", Weese said.

How can I protect my dog from getting sick?

So here's what you need to know: first of all, you won't get the flu from your dog. If a dog catches it, they will feel exhausted, will cough and even have a runny nose.

The problem, says Weese, is there is not a lot of vaccine coverage in dogs in Canada because we haven't had the virus here.

How much of a threat is canine influenza to humans? Human flu can spread to pigs and birds and vice versa. But one concern flu experts have is with something called "reassortment", meaning the mixing together of human and dog flus.

Evidence indicates that dogs can become infected with human-adapted influenza strains. If you are concerned about a genetically recombinant human-dog influenza virus wreaking havoc on humanity, then support biomedical research.

"It's really unlikely to happen, but because it's possible, that's why we pay attention to it", he said.