HCN News & Notes

Flu Season Affects Dogs, Too, Not Just Humans

CHICOPEE — Just three years ago, according to the Massachusetts Division of Animal Health, the first-ever case of canine influenza was confirmed in Gloucester. Since then, the Good Dog Spot, with locations in Chicopee and Northampton, has been providing information to pet parents about canine flu (H3N2). Here are a few tips.

If your pet has a weakened immune system, or is a young puppy or a senior dog, refrain from bringing him or her to social settings where they will come into contact with large amounts of dogs. Boost your pet’s immune system at home by supplementing plain, full-fat yogurt, a probiotic, colloidal silver, or colostrum to their diet. Lastly, speak with your vet about a vaccination plan that is best for your dog’s individual needs.

Symptoms of H3N2 include coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. One case has been confirmed in Hadley this month at Valley Vet. It cannot spread to humans, but can spread from dogs to cats, and can be dangerous. Puppies, elderly dogs, pregnant dogs, and dogs that travel or socialize with other dogs are at the highest risk for H3N2.

If your dog shows flu symptoms, keep your dog separate from healthy animals. Call your vet to alert them, and use a side entrance (not the waiting room) when visiting the vet. Tell your vet if your dog has been to kennels, dog shows, daycare, dog parks, or other events with many animals present. Change clothes after interacting with your sick animal.

If your dog is diagnosed with H3N2, tell the owners of any other pets your dog has potentially exposed to the virus. Also, if your dog has been diagnosed with the H3N2 virus, notify any pet care or training facilities your dog has attended in the last two weeks.

Remember, just as a human would see a doctor for the flu, a veterinarian can help assist in diagnosis and recommended vaccines.