Canine Influenza

Late last year Canine Influenza was in the news. It was predicted that our canine friends were likely to suffer from the flu this year. If we look at the rate of dog-flu cases reported at major veterinary labs, we find that this is a lack luster year for dog flu.

New York City and the metro area did have an outbreak and continues to have some reported cases. Texas, Colorado, California and Massachusetts have had a few reports of cases within the last 6 months. However the cases have been few and isolated.

Some veterinarians suspect that vigorous marketing of Canine Influenza Vaccine plays a part in how vigorously cases are being reported in the media. It is harder these days to determine if there really is a disease problem or if it is being overblown by a drug company or vaccine manufacturing company. Although documented cases of the Canine Influenza virus exist, they do not exist in large numbers.

The Canine Influenza virus is a mutated version of the Equine Influenza virus. It is not contagious to people. Affected dogs show signs of a runny nose, cough and fever but are usually able to recover with rest and time. But in some dogs, regardless of age and health status,the flu may progress to pneumonia. Most commonly Canine Influenza is present with another respiratory disease like Bordetella ( Kennel Cough). Unlike human flu, it is not seasonal. It is commonly contracted in boarding facilities, doggy daycares and dog parks.

There is a vaccination for Canine Influenza but it is not considered a core vaccine so most practitioners are not recommending vaccination for this disease. From a holistic perspective, I do not recommend this vaccination, but rather I would recommend using a product to boost the immune system. One such product is Echinacea-Goldenseal ( Alcohol-Free) by Petwellbeing. This can be used for dogs and humans but works best as a preventive. It needs to be taken before signs of the flu develop. Take it along with your dog and stay healthy this winter.

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