Cold/Flu Season…

Well my dog has caught it, has yours? She woke up one morning with some bright green eye goupies, a sneeze and itchy eyes. She’s had eye goupies before and I think that perhaps that might be the first sign that her white blood cells are going to town on something. She had them so often this spring without other apparent symptoms that it looked like she had a minor allergy. This time, one of her best doggy friends (Suka) had green eye amigos and then a couple days latter so did my dog Ellie. Is it a cold or a flu? My guess is a simple cold since Suka is already over it. 🙂

Suka and Ellie enjoying the snow
Suka and Ellie enjoying the snow

So, now that I feel better that Ellie doesn’t have ‘the flu’, I feel like I need to understand what the difference between a cold and the flu are. According to Dr. Green a cold is more of a head thing centered in your nose. The flu on the other hand tends to make you sick all over and can be a lot more dangerous than a cold. With the flu you generally get sick abruptly and run a fever, with a cold you can “feel it coming on.” Remember, a normal temperature for a dog is 99.5 to 102.5 degrees F just in case you feel like checking.
What is interesting is that flu or influenza/ respiratory type viruses hadn’t caused illnesses in dogs or cats until five years ago. In 2004 veterinarians started to recognize H3N8, what we now call Canine Influenza Virus, which was first seen in horses. As you may have heard H1N1 has been seen in cats in Oregon and Iowa and in ferrets who are notoriously susceptible to respiratory illnesses. China has just released that the virus has been found the in dogs too though. In all cases it is believed that the pets caught the virus from humans because the straisn were very similar to the strain found in humans. Flu and H1N1 symptoms are respiratory: lethargy, runny nose and/or eyes, coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. Don’t let this get you too riled up though, even if you are sure your pet has H1N1 the time and cost of testing for it isn’t very economical and it is highly unlikely to be available outside of a major vet. center or university.

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