Canine Flu (Canine Influenza)

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Canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of the influenza virus. The disease primarily affects dogs but can also be transmitted to cats. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, and nasal and eye discharge. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia and even death.

The virus is primarily spread through respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal discharge, and cough droplets. The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog, or through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, such as food and water bowls, toys, and bedding.

The virus can also be spread through the air, especially in enclosed spaces where dogs are in close proximity to one another, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities. Dogs that are housed in close quarters, such as in shelters or breeding facilities, are at a higher risk of infection. In addition, dogs that are frequently around other dogs, such as those that participate in dog shows, and agility events, are also at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Vaccines are available to protect dogs against the virus, and treatment typically involves supportive care with fluids and antibiotics. It is important to keep your dog current on vaccinations, and to keep them away from other dogs that are sick or showing signs of illness.

It is important to note that even dogs that have been vaccinated may still become infected, but the symptoms will likely be milder and the recovery time shorter.

The H3N8 and H3N2 strains of the influenza virus that cause canine influenza are both single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses. This means that their genetic material is made up of a single strand of RNA that is complementary to the viral mRNA that is used for protein synthesis. The virus particles, or virions, are roughly spherical in shape and measure about 100 nanometers in diameter. They are enveloped by a lipid bilayer membrane that contains viral proteins and is studded with spikes of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, which are used to bind to and enter host cells, and to aid in the release of new virus particles from infected cells. The virus primarily infects the respiratory tract, specifically the nose and lungs, of infected animals.

Disinfection is an important step in preventing the spread of canine influenza. The virus can survive on surfaces for several days, so it is important to clean and disinfect any areas that may have come into contact with an infected dog.

Quats (like KennelSolĀ® Disinfectant, and many others) are a good disinfectant choicees because of their excellent cleaning ability (cleaning alone will reduce microbial loads by upward of 90%), plus their ability to easily break down lipid-rich envelopes, like those found in Canine Influenza and other respiratory viruses. Though Canine Influenza is not a difficult microbe to kill, be sure to use products according to a manufacturer's instructions (at disinfection, not sanitizer levels) to ensure maximum effectiveness.

It is also important to disinfect any objects that may have come into contact with an infected dog, such as food and water bowls, toys, and bedding. This can be done by washing the items in hot water.

In addition, it is important to keep the dog's living area clean, including regular vacuuming and mopping. It is also important to separate sick dogs from healthy dogs to avoid the spread of the virus.

Finally, it is also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands and clothes after handling an infected dog and avoiding contact with sick dogs.

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