Dogs and flu
7 Healthcast: Dogs and flu
When it comes to catching the flu, your dog is far from immune. In fact, 20 dogs at a clinic in California were recently diagnosed with canine influenza.
"It's relatively easy to transmit from one animal to the other, just like influenza is for us," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding of the Los Angeles County Health Department.
There's no health risk to people or other animals because the virus is only transmitted from dog to dog. That's why kennels and dog parks are considered a higher risk for contracting the flu.
Dog owners should know the symptoms of canine influenza.
"Sometimes the cough is soft like a kennel cough," said veterinarian Dr. Allison Massenzio. "Sometimes it presents with a runny nose, sometimes with green discharge."
Michelle Debaroncelli said she keeps a close watch on her dog Lulu.
"I never want her to be sick but at least I know the symptoms and what to look for," Debaraoncelli said. "It's not some dog specific thing that I'm not trained to look for. I know what a sneeze looks like, I know what a cough looks like, runny nose, all of that."
Dogs like Lulu and Benny are counting on their owners to watch out for them.
If your dog has the flu, you can take the same precautions you would to prevent the spread of human flu, like washing your hands frequently. Also, keep your sick dog away from other dogs and disinfect your pet's water and food dishes often.
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