What is Canine Influenza?

How do I know if my dog has Canine Influenza? 

Symptoms of the dog flu include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, lethargy, and appetite loss.  These symptoms can also be symptoms of many other illnesses.  So, if your dog is showing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to visit your veterinarian so that they may test your dog for Canine Influenza. 


How contagious is Canine Influenza? 

Because Canine Influenza is a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it.  It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs by direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. * Because a dog is contagious before they show any symptoms, it makes the virus hard to contain.  Most veterinarians agree that once a dog is infected, it takes two days to manifest symptoms.   


Can a dog die from the flu? 

Similar to the flu in humans, few cases result in death, and those cases are resulting from severe pneumonia.  The virus weakens the immune system and bacteria start infecting the lungs.  Puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing further complications from the flu.  However, most cases do resolve with prompt treatment.  


What if my dog has symptoms of or is diagnosed with the flu?   

If your dog is showing symptoms of the flu, make sure that they see a veterinarian so that they can receive the proper treatment.  Do not bring your dog to Ruff Housing or allow them to be around other dogs until your veterinarian says it is okay to do so. Even if you only suspect or think there is a possibility that your dog may be showing symptoms, be extra cautious and keep them home until you can be sure that the symptoms are not something more serious.    


What is Ruff Housing doing? 

We are working closely with local veterinarians to keep informed and to keep our clients informed.  We always sanitize our areas daily, most areas multiple times a day.  But we are stepping up our cleaning even more.  As usual, you are bringing your dog to Ruff Housing or any other location at your own risk.  Just as your child’s school would not pay a doctor’s bill if your child gets sick school, Ruff Housing does not pay vet bills if your dog gets sick at our facility.   If we suspect that your dog has symptoms, we will not allow them into our facility.  If they are already in the facility, we will isolate them immediately and ask you to pick them up as soon as possible.  If your dog is boarding with us and you are unable to pick them up, we will contact you if possible, and then take your dog to a veterinarian on your behalf.  


Is there a vaccine for the Canine Influenza Virus? 

Yes.  But, like the human flu vaccine, the new canine influenza vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection.  However, it can dramatically reduce the severity of the disease.  The vaccine also dramatically reduces the amount of the virus that dogs shed, reducing the spread to other dogs.  We strongly recommend that any dog attending Ruff Housing be vaccinated against Canine Influenza.  


Can humans contract Canine Influenza? 

No.  There is no evidence that Canine Influenza can be passed to humans.  However, there has been limited evidence that some strains of Canine Influenza have infected cats, guinea pigs and ferrets.  


For more information or other questions about Canine Influenza and its effects, please speak with your veterinarian’s office.  If you have questions about Ruff Housing’s practices or policies, you may contact our corporate office at (336) 830-8688.