The canine influenza virus has been making a run lately. It started in the Chicago area and has now spread to more than a dozen states. With the mobility of our society and our desire to bring our dogs along, vacation season means the canine flu will most likely continue to spread. Here are a couple of tips to keep your dog safe.
- DO NOT PANIC. This disease is not as deadly as the media makes it out to be. In Chicago over 1,000 cases were reported (many more went undiagnosed) and only 5 dogs actually died. Just like in people, the vast majority of those who get the flu are sick for a week and get better without treatment.
- DO NOT VACCINATE. The canine influenza vaccine protects against a different strain of the virus. There are some who say that there is some cross protection with the vaccine but experts disagree. Those pushing the vaccine have something to gain by its use. The exact strain of flu in the canine vaccine (developed in 2007) is not likely to ever resurface. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a useless vaccine. Here’s more on vaccines.
- DO STAY VIGILANT. Call your local vet and local shelters periodically and ask if they are seeing any cases. Listen closely to the local news.
- KEEP YOUR DOG HOME if cases of the flu turn up in your area. Dog parks, kennels, daycare, shelters, groomers, and summer dog events are great places for your dog to get exposed. If the flu is in town, hunker down.
- STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. It is always wise to keep your dog’s guard up. I have found that a balanced raw diet is a great defense against disease. Probiotics also keep the immune system healthy. Your local holistic vet may also have specific herbal supplements to protect the respiratory system.
Nobody wants to see their beloved dog get sick. Keeping your dog safe is not difficult. The steps above will help you help your pet.
Have there been any cases of canine flu in your area?