In August, Hummer, a 2 year old lab, attended doggie daycare with his 2 housemates. After a few play dates at the daycare Hummer started coughing. Initially his mom thought it might be related to some allergies, but after a few days he had a runny nose and was coughing up fluid. His symptoms seemed like a human cold and were getting progressively worse. Hummer’s mom decided to bring him to see us.
When Hummer was seen it was determined based on his symptoms and history that he had canine influenza. Canine influenza is a virus that causes upper respiratory disease similar to human influenza. It is only transmitted between dogs and is airborne. The most common places for dogs to get the virus are boarding kennels and shelters. Most animals will recover from the illness in a few weeks, but if there is a compromised immune system it may turn into pneumonia.
Hummer did get progressively worse, he was coughing more, not eating or drinking, and was very weak. After radiographs and blood work we determined that Hummer’s influenza had caused pneumonia and he was struggling to breath. He was admitted to the hospital and treated with intravenous fluids and medications. He even had to spend a night in the emergency clinic.
After a few days of intensive treatment Hummer began to recover and was sent home with his family. It still took him a week to completely recover but Hummer is now back to his playful self.
There is a vaccine for canine influenza at this time. Although your dog is still at risk of infection, the vaccine will decrease the disease’s severity if exposed. If your dog has not received an influenza vaccine before, a second booster is recommended 3-4 weeks after the initial vaccine. For more information ask your veterinarian today.