The advent of winter weather signals the beginning of cold and flu season for humans. These illnesses are more prevalent when folks spend more time indoors where germs are more easily passed between them. We all know the drill for preventing the spread of our seasonal maladies, but what about our dogs? Are they also susceptible to these wintertime woes? Below, in The Caring Vet Column, Dr. Jeff Werber discusses how to keep our pooches hale and hearty during the cold and flu season.
Dogs are not susceptible to what we humans know as a “cold” or “the flu.”
They can, however, contract canine influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, or bordatella, all of which present with respiratory symptoms that look like what we know as a cold or a cough. These are contracted through mingling with other dogs, whether at parks, veterinary facilities, doggie day care centers, etc., where the bacteria is passed on via airborne particles. For prevention of this, your dog should receive appropriate vaccinations from your veterinarian.
If contracted, bordatella can be treated with antibiotics and medication for cough symptoms, also available from your veterinarian.
If the underlying cause of your dog’s cold-like symptoms is a virus, the recommended treatment is supporitve care: treating the symptoms and fortifying the dog’s immune system through vitamins and supplementation (such as ProSense Senior or Adult Vitamin), and by preventing secondary infection. Toward this end your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics. Although these won’t help treat the virus itself, it might help treat the secondary infection.
If your dog does present with respiratory symptoms, be sure to isolate the affected dog from other household dogs to prevent the spread. Dogs and cats are not susceptible to respiratory infections carried by each other, so there is no concern there.
Even though your dog’s symptoms may mimic the symptoms we get when we have a cold, don’t be tempted to use the same OTC cold and flu medications that we ourselves would take. Though some of the ingredients might be helpful, they contain other ingredients that could be hazardous.
With a little preparation and some reasonable caution, both you and your dog should be able to make it through the season bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!
-Dr. Jeff Werber, Pro-Sense Premium Pet Products
Image credit: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo