Yes, You Can Give Your Dog the Flu
Flu is everywhere right now. But what about your pets? An expert says humans cannot get canine flu, but dogs can be infected by their human keepers.
Dr. Peter Falk, a board member of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, says it's a known fact that flu viruses can mutate.
"We have too many people come in and say everybody in the house was sick and now the dog is sick."
Falk says there is canine flu, and dogs can pass that around from dog to dog. He says the dog flu does not make people sick.
But canine flu is contagious from animal to animal.
"Since it goes dog to dog, and it is mostly respiratory — which is sneezing, coughing or even just direct contact — we see it after dogs are boarded in kennels, dog parks, doggie daycare, where they have dog-to-dog contact."
The good news is there is a vaccine.
"There are two strains of canine influenza, and there is a vaccine that can cover both strains. So obviously, just like in human medicine, the vaccine has to be given before exposure to the virus. It would be good to be able to do it by two or three weeks ahead of time to get them some immunity built up."
He says if dogs get the shot, just like people, even if they get canine flu, at least the symptoms will be more mild.
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