Cases of canine influenza or dog flu are on the rise in the United States. Most recently, dachshunds have been kept off the Fourth of July Parade in Michigan by their owners, as reported by News OK.
Breaking 12 years off tradition, the owners of these dogs deemed it safer to let their pets skip this year's festivities to guard them against the spread of the disease, as more than a thousand dog flu cases have been reported in various states. About 12 states are being actively monitored for the virus, according to Washington Post. The virus comes as the H3N8 and H3N2 strain.
What else do dog owners need to know about canine influenza?
The dog flu strain can only affect animals and there have been no evidence to show that this can be transmitted by the dogs to their humans, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The H3N2 strain has been closely linked to the avian flu, which has been first reported last April in the United States, while it is commonly occurring in China and Thailand.
The H3N8 strain, on the other hand, first exhibited in horses and transferred to dogs. Its first case was recorded back in 2004.
Outbreaks frequently happen in kennels and shelters and this has invariably affected the dog adoption process in some of these agencies.
The symptoms of the disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, high fever, cough and runny nose. Some dogs may be at risk of developing pneumonia as a result, so closely monitoring the pets is recommended. Sometimes, however, some dogs show no symptoms at all.
"Be wary of public places," said Meredith Millwood, a spokesperson for Atlanta Humane Society, via CNN. "Dog parks are a gamble you're taking with dogs you don't know."
Treatment are not specific, as the disease is viral. But in the United States, there is a vaccine for H3N8 only, according to CDC. Generally, however, the dogs will have to have an immunity boost to fight off the flu. But for bacterial infections, dog owners can get a prescription for antibiotics from their veterinarians. They cost can be expensive, as much as $1,000 a day, according to WSBTV.
While recovery is gradual, canine influenza is not fatal, the CNN reported.