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Can dogs get the flu?

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Quick Answer

Dogs can get the flu, but it is a different strain than the flu viruses that infect people. Canine influenza virus is highly contagious, but veterinarians offer preventative vaccines.

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Full Answer

Canine influenza virus is fairly new. It is a mutated form of equine influenza. Symptoms are similar to those of human flu viruses, including lethargy, fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and lack of appetite. Canine flu is sometimes called kennel cough, which refers to any contagious respiratory illness. Most dogs recover from the flu on their own. In severe cases, dogs can develop life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that owners who think their dogs may have the flu seek veterinary advice.

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