Flu Season for Humans Raises Questions About Flu Shots for Dogs

You might want to bring man's best friend with you on your way to get a flu shot.

'Tis the season for a flu shot for you and your loved ones, which may include your dog.

Yes, that virus that makes you feel achy, miserable, and generally gross can affect Fido, too.

Here are the answers to some common questions about getting your dog vaccinated.

How long has canine influenza been around?

According to researchers, canine influenza came to human attention in 2004, when Cornell University's Edward Dubovi sequenced the virus and sent it to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found that the virus was a mutated version of one found in horses, which had made it to to racing greyhounds in Florida. Humans can't get the virus from dogs, nor can dogs get it from us.

Should all dogs be vaccinated against the flu?

Probably not. If your dog stays indoors and doesn't come into contact with neighborhood dogs, the vaccination isn't necessary. But if Spot's going to be at doggy day care, getting trained, heading to the vet—if she's going anywhere where a lot of animals congregate—it might be smart to vaccinate. Keep in mind that canine influenza doesn't have a "season" per se; dogs can catch the flu all year round.

How do you know if your dog has the flu?

Symptoms of canine influenza are similar to the human version: coughing, lethargy, and nasal discharge. In rare cases, it may lead to pneumonia.

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