Let me introduce you to a member of our family: Daisy. Daisy has an almost 100% risk of getting dog flu, if exposed to the virus. That’s because Daisy, and millions like her in America, have no natural immunity to the H3N2 strain of dog flu. Furthermore, Daisy has no way of knowing beforehand if who she meets might have dog flu and infect her. Daisy is a cute little Schnoodle, a Schnauzer poodle mix. She’s a helpless sweet dog. She likes to snuggle, be in the midst of everything and everyone and she hates being left out. Daisy is a member of the family and has been for over 10 years.
Dog flu is an emerging disease, meaning dogs in the United States have not been exposed to it before and therefore lack immunity to it. That means there is a greater risk of infection and even large scale outbreaks. By the time signs appear (which include coughing, fever, sneezing, ocular discharge and lethargy) and dog flu is diagnosed, it is usually too late to stop the spread because of the rapid rate of infection.
There are ways we can protect our family members, like Daisy, using the same techniques we use to combat human flu. First and foremost, the best approach is a dog flu vaccination to help prevent infection. This is especially important because, unlike human flu, dog flu doesn’t have a season and can be caught year-round. Secondly, if one of your children is sick, you’ll keep them at home rather than sending them to school where they can pass their germs on to everyone, right? Dog flu is no different. If your dog is sick, it’s best to keep them away from other dogs. This is also true if you know cases of dog flu in your area. Limiting your dog’s contact with other dogs greatly lowers the chances of getting dog flu.
Finally, the If This Dog Could Talk campaign is an ongoing campaign with Merck Animal Health to help raise awareness of the dog flu with the renowned photo-documentary series creator, The Dogist. Download their If This Dog Could Talk: Tour to Prevent Dog Flu album & learn more about how you can protect your pup from dog flu! Download the Full Tour Album here.
Disclaimer: I have teamed up with MERCK ANIMAL HEALTH in support of this campaign. We received compensation for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.