Do Dogs Get the Flu?

Beagle at Vet

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I’m down with a cold, and coughing.

So I have some time to think while in bed resting.

Do dogs get the flu? Can they get it from me?

I remember, a long time ago, a vet saying that if a dog starts sneezing, becomes lethargic, or has any colored discharge, it’s time to see a vet.

That’s the conventional wisdom I have lived by but I decided to google it anyway.

I know that dogs can get sick and we vaccinate them against most of these, controversy about vaccinations aside. The one vaccination I know some boarders demand is for kennel cough but I also know it’s not effective as there are various strains. Having the vaccination sprayed up her nose didn’t make Blackspot too happy. She developed an instant dislike of that poor vet as we did have to restrain her. Her first and thus far her last kennel cough vaccination.

From some light reading, it doesn’t appear that dogs can get sick from us (but please remember I’m NOT a vet!). Except in the case of streptococcal, which has both a canine and human strain, that can and has resulted in sickness and death of many dogs. This is documented in 1999, and it was so severe that some Florida greyhound tracks were closed in January and February of that year. (read more here). A handler with a sore throat was thought to be the source of infection in this greyhound kennel epidemic. CSTSS is not easily treatable.

In general it seems dogs mostly get sick from canine strains but it’s always good to keep an eye on our animal friends. Not to be hypochondriac, but be alert to any changes that may need the attention of a vet.

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