Canine Influenza Is Very Contagious

By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: What is dog flu? A friend at the dog park told me that I need to ask the veterinarian about getting my dog vaccinated against it. —
Gladys in Dallas

DEAR GLADYS: Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a new illness that was first documented in 2004. Since then, it has been found in dogs in 38 states, with more than 100 cases recorded in Texas.

Dogs that become ill with canine influenza have symptoms that include runny nose, coughing and a fever. Just as in humans, the illness can become very serious because dogs can get dehydrated, or can develop a secondary infection like pneumonia — conditions that can be deadly.

Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, canine influenza is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted between dogs. (It can’t be transmitted to humans.) An information release from Jefferson Animal Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. says that many infected dogs appear healthy at first, meaning it’s more likely that an ill dog will spread influenza to other dogs at meeting places like dog parks, doggie daycare, and grooming and boarding facilities. The really depressing fact about this
flu is that almost every dog exposed to it will become ill unless they’re vaccinated, because it’s such a new virus that dogs have no immunity to it.

The best way to prevent the spread of canine influenza is to get your dog vaccinated. Contact your veterinarian about the availability and cost of this vaccination. Learn more about this illness at

Send your questions or comments to, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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