The flu season has been on the rise in North Texas, but humans are not the only ones feeling ill. A Carrollton shelter reported that 65% of its dogs have come down with canine influenza so far this November.
Operation Kindness, a no-kill shelter, has temporarily suspended all dog intake and adoptions because of the high rate of canine flu. The suspension began on November 6, but it has not been determined when the suspension will end.
According to Operation Kindness, canine flu is an acute respiratory illness that is spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes.
Symptoms your furry friend may be experiencing the flu are similar to humans — cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge and reduced appetite. But not all dogs will show signs of illness and no human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. The infection is caused by the Type A influenza virus — the H3N8 virus which originates from horses. Another other is the H3N2 which comes from birds infecting dogs.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that shelter spokesperson Natalie Buxton said the shelter has not seen this rate of infection since she began working there in 2013.
“It’s not something that we typically have seen in our shelter. So definitely this year is worse than any previous year,” she added.
The CDC reported that most dogs recover in 2 to 3 weeks, but some dogs may develop secondary bacterial infections, which may lead to illnesses such as pneumonia, which can be severe.
If you are worried about your pet’s health this flu season, try to limit their exposure to other dogs and surfaces where other dogs frequent. The canine flu often clears up without medical attention, but if symptoms last longer than three weeks it may be time to visit the vet.