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Canine Flu

What you need to know to help protect your dog!

What is Canine Flu?

Canine flu is a contagious viral disease that can spread quickly among dogs.  It affects a dog's respiratory system and may cause serious illness.  In the US, outbreaks of canine flu were first reported in 2004 and the virus has since spread across country.

What are the signs of the canine flu?

It is important to know and recognize the signs of infection both in your dog and in other dogs that your dog may come into contact with.  Most cases of canine flu are mild and include signs such as:

    • A persistent Cough  (dry or moist)
    • Sneezing
    • Runny Nose
    • Low-grade Fever
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Loss of Energy

Some dogs may develop a more severe disease, which could develop into pneumonia.  If you notice any of these signs it is important that you contact your veterinarian.

What time of year is most common to see canine influenza? 

Unlike the human flu, there is no recognized “season” for canine influenza.  In fact, infections can occur any time of year and have been documented in 46 states.

Is your dog at risk?

Dogs have no natural immunity from the flu virus and dogs of any age or breed can get the disease. All dogs can get canine flu and are at risk of exposure to the flu virus, especially in places where dogs gather.

Does your dog go to:

    • Dog Parks
    • Dog Day Care
    • Boarding Kennels
    • Grooming Facilities
    • Dog Show or Events

If you answered yes to any of the above, it is important that you take step to help protect your dog from canine flu.  Talk to your veterinarian about available preventative options such as vaccination.

How does canine flu spread?

--- Through Contact with infected dogs

 --- Dogs that do not show signs of canine flu can still spread the virus to other dogs

    • Airborne exposure
      •  Coughing
      •  Sneezing
      •  Runny Nose

    • Contact with contaminated items
      •  Food and water bowls
      •  Toys

Prevention is the best protection.

Just as you take steps to protect yourself from the flu every year, it is also important to help protect your dog. 

Vaccines for canine flu have recently been developed to help protect dogs against this newly emerging disease.

Vaccinating against canine flu can be beneficial by:

    • Helping prevent infection
    • Reducing the spread of infection
    • Reducing common symptoms
    • Reducing the risk of developing more severe disease, such as pneumonia

Talk to your veterinarian for more information about this and other preventable canine diseases.

Click here to get a copy of the canine flu handout.


  1. Dubovi EJ, Njaa BL. Canine Influenza. Vet Clin Small Amin.
  2. Crawford PC, Dubovi EJ, Castleman WL, et al. Transmission of equine influenza virus to dogs. Science. 2005;310:482-485.
  3. 210 Pfizer Animal Health, a Diision of Pfizer Inc.
    New York, NY December 2010

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