Update on Swine Flu In Dogs

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This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at WayCoolDogs

 

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Can the medical community guarantee dog owners that their dogs will not get swine flu? Absolutely not. Right now there is no guarantee that canines are immune from the mutated swine flu because it is a mutated strain. For this reason alone, dogs are still able to get swine flu. But what is guaranteed is that right now there is not one diagnosed case of swine flu in a dog-so far.

Swine flu has been diagnosed in over 45,000 Americans – an influenza virus which changes constantly from one source to another. “When influenza viruses from different species infect pigs, the viruses can re-sort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge.” (CDC, 2009)

With the H7N7 and H3N8 flu found in dogs from a mutated virus during 2004, it means that at some point the virus may mutate to just the right mixture so dogs can get the swine flu. All it takes is one dog at the right time. Obviously, the small percentage of “no they cannot get it” that is touted to the public means absolutely nothing in the long run.

SYMPTOMS OF SWINE FLU IN DOGS

With caution in mind, watching for swine flu symptoms in dogs should be a high priority to all dog owners. Look for a cough, runny nose and a fever to begin with. As it progresses, a raspy breathing will develop along with excessive panting – all similar to swine flu symptoms in pigs and human beings. If these signs develop, take the dog to the vet as even if the diagnosis is not swine flu, the dog is sick and needs care right away.

A lot of things are going around which causes us great concern – bird flu (avian flu), flu pandemics overall, west nile disease, and now swine flu (or the new H1N1 disease). Most of us have spent years with surrounded by the flu of some time or another, but all of a sudden since April of 2009 we have been hit with the swine flu which has led us to a swine flu pandemic.

The news is full of flu shots that are being developed on a global basis – countries preparing to fight for their fair share and a list of who will be protected and who will not. Keeping our mind alert, maintaining preventive measures and watching for symptoms are the best plans of attach we can do.

HOW H1N1 IS CONFIRMED

The H1N1 flu is confirmed as:

  1. A “laboratory confirmed novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection” is defined through (1) Real time RT-PCR and (2) a viral culture.
  2. A “probable case of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection” as defined by a person testing positive for influenza A, but negative for human H1 and H3 by influenza RT-PCR.

SWINE FLU VACCINES

Right now, trial studies on the swine flu vaccine shows that even though the antiviral vaccine may shorten the length of the flue in children by 1 ½ days, it had little if any effect on follow flares of asthma, increased ear infections or the need for further antibiotics.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES FOR DOGS AND SWINE FLU

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling the animal.
  • Wear disposable gloves and wash your hands before and after handling an animal’s saliva, urine, blood and feces.
  • Do not board your pet in public boarding facilities if your household has the swine flu or if there are local reports of the disease being in your area.
  • Remember that pot belly pigs are not only pigs but are pets.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling the animal.

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WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2016 WayCoolDogs.com..

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PGAA Note: See https://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/