Dogs can experience symptoms of kennel cough for various reasons. One of them is the canine influenza virus. Most diseases have been around for quite a while. This allows for vaccinations to be made and for dogs to build up a natural immunity.
This particular virus however has just emerged in recent years. Dogs have no immunity or vaccination to keep them protected from it. Dogs that come into contact with it will become infected in all likelihood. Although it’s possible for infected dogs not to show any clinical signs, a large percentage of them do.
The virus that causes influenza in dogs is very contagious. Close contact is all that’s needed for it to be transmitted. The disease can become a huge problem in situations where canines are kept in close proximity, such as kennels.
Dogs most often exhibit relatively mild symptoms, but some can develop severe cases. The symptoms of dog influenza mimic kennel cough, with dogs having a cough anywhere from one week to about a month. Sometimes, it will be a moist cough, but some will have a dry version.
Along with the cough, sneezing and persistent fevers are also common after infection with the canine influenza virus. With a compromised immune system, dogs may develop a secondary bacterial infection too. These infections typically present with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, with signs like nasal discharge being common.
Severe cases of influenza in dogs can cause very high fevers, often topping 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Secondary bacterial infections can also lead to pneumonia. This in turn, may cause dogs to have respiratory issues.
This condition is commonly mistaken as kennel cough. Therefore, the veterinarian will need to examine your canine thoroughly and run a few different tests. If the lungs are affected, then chest x-rays may be necessary.
There is no specific treatment for dog influenza. The vet will provide supportive measures instead. To help reduce the severity of the chronic coughing, cough suppressants may be given. Antibiotics will also likely be given to keep secondary bacterial infections from developing, especially potentially serious conditions like pneumonia.