It's important to know that Canine Influenza (a.k.a. the "Dog Flu") is a real thing. However, it's different from the pandemic that has all of America keeping their hand sanitizer within arm's reach.
THOUGH THERE ARE SOME SIMILARITIES IN SYMPTOMS, THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT DOGS CAN CATCH THE FLU FROM HUMANS, OR VICE VERSA.
Canine influenza virus (CIV) is most commonly spread in "high-traffic" dog areas, like boarding kennels, doggie daycares, dog parks, and animal shelters. Some local facilities are starting to require dogs to be vaccinated for CIV, but even if it's not a requirement - it's still a good idea to strongly consider the extra protection of immunization.
4 Things You Should Know About Canine Influenza
1. There is a vaccine available.
There are two strains of CIV: H3N8 (identified in 2004) and H3N2 (identified in 2015). Previously, only an H3N8 vaccine was available. We now carry a new combination vaccine with one that provides protection against both H3N8 and H3N2.
Since H3N2 was not included in the original canine influenza vaccine, all dogs starting the combo vaccine (even if they already had the H3N8-only vaccine) will require an initial series of two injections 4 weeks apart; it is then boostered annually to maintain protection.
2. Canine Influenza is highly contagious.
The virus is spread through respiratory secretions (nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing), and can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours.
Be sure to thoroughly wash bowls, toys, and your hands! Though you cannot get your dog's flu, you can pass the virus along to other dogs after handling an infected dog.
3. Canine Influenza is a year-round problem.
Unlike the human flu, there is no "dog flu season" to worry about. Instead, the virus tends to spark up with isolated outbreaks throughout the year. Unfortunately, these outbreaks often occur in kennels and shelters. When dogs exposed to the virus leave the facility, they can spread the infection elsewhere.
4. If your dog is showing signs of an upper respiratory illness, schedule a visit with the vet.
There is no cure for the canine influenza virus, but your dog may need supportive care to combat dehydration and secondary bacterial infections.
The Internet is a great way to share information, but if something alarms you, please investigate it further before sharing with your friends. Stuff like this spreads like wildfire, causing pet owners undue panic.
Messages and images like the examples below that don't cite sources or appear to come from legitimate experts are all too often created just to incite fear and cause harm to big companies without cause:
SWIFFER WETJET CAUSES LIVER FAILURE IN PETS
A false account of a "neighbor's 5-year-old German Shepherd put down due to liver failure...and soon after his housekeepers' two cats also died of liver failure" has resurfaced. The message declares that Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution poisoned all the animals in the house just by using it to clean the kitchen floor.
Know that THIS IS FALSE INFORMATION that has been circulating since May 2004, and it has been brought back to life via social media (there are already 19,000 comments on the post in the image taken just 10 days ago).
We encourage everyone to read this article originally published by Snopes in May 2004. It contains important information, including a statement from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control toxicologists (direct link to press release is in the article) that explain thoroughly why this is nothing but a myth.
Diffusing Essential OilS KILLS CATS
This infographic has gone viral, fueling panic among pet owners across the web. Note that this graphic does not cite any reputable sources or additional information.
Essential oils, when ingested or applied topically (particularly if undiluted) can cause harm to pets. Cats, birds, and exotic pets can be more vulnerable to certain oils.
Essential oils should be used only under the guidance of a veterinary team that is knowledgeable about their therapeutic uses, toxicities, and your pet's physical health.
If you have questions about whether the essential oils that you're using in your home (in diffusers, sprays, DIY cleaners, or topically on yourself), ask!
There is no harm in being cautious, but please seek a professional opinion. Do not rely on information from an unknown source.
Please, if you share anything related to these claims, share this! Fighting against viral rumors takes an army!