Yes, there is a canine flu, but not to worry, most dogs aren’t at risk or in need of the vaccine. There are a few “hot spots” around the country (including the Miami, Denver and Northern Virginia regions) where there have been outbreaks of canine influenza (CIV) over the past five years. Symptoms of this respiratory virus include runny nose, coughing, mild fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. It can last for 1 – 3 weeks, after which most dogs are fine, with the exception of the very old or those with other health conditions (just like humans). This flu is very contagious among dogs, yet cannot infect humans. It is estimated that up to 20% of dogs remain asymptomatic once infected.
The American Veterinary Medical Association is not recommending vaccinating all dogs so your dog is probably in the clear, but talk to your vet about the vaccine if he is in regular contact with lots of dogs, has a weakened health state, or is traveling to one of these “hot spots.” For more information, talk to your vet or visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.