There have been numerous media reports on an outbreak of “canine influenza” that began in Chicago, and could spread to other areas.
The original dog flu virus that was characterized a few years ago is known as H3N8, and there is a vaccine for that virus. However, this virus is different: H3N2–and it can also affect cats.
Note: The currently available canine flu vaccine does not protect against this virus.
Symptoms of the H3N2 flu are primarily sneezing and coughing. It is highly contagious; but while unpleasant, it is far less dangerous than the H3N8 virus.
The most likely places for your dog (or cat) to contract this flu virus are doggie daycare and boarding kennels, dog parks, grooming facilities, pet stores, and veterinary clinics–all places where a lot of animals pass through, and the chances of spreading the virus are high.
The best defense against this virus is to support your dog’s immune system with top quality nutrition, stress management, and adequate exercise.
For more information:
- Immune System Health, which applies just as much to dogs as to cats;
- For cats in particular, The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care: An Illustrated Handbook, an information-packed, award-winning book by nutritionist Dr. Celeste Yarnall and Little Big Cat’s own Dr. Jean Hofve (available in our Bookstore and on Amazon.com).
- Specifically for dogs, Dr. Jean and Celeste’s newest book, Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf, available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle version, or at your favorite bookseller!)