All You Need to Know about Canine Influenza

All You Need to Know about Canine Influenza

Severe cough, runny nose, fever; these are all symptoms we dread getting during flu season and we take so many precautions to avoid them. What if your dog was suffering from influenza too? How would you know? What would you do? The most important question may even be, how would you prevent it? Here is all you need to know about Canine influenza and what pet owners need to be aware of and do to help their furry friends!

What is canine influenza?

Much like the human flu, canine influenza is an extremely contagious respiratory infection. There are two known strands of canine influenza in the United States. One strand making its first appearance in 2004, and the second strand outbreaking in 2015. The strand found in 2015 is identical to a strand found in Asia, which is thought to have directly been transferred from an avian influenza virus. The most recent strand has been affecting dogs all throughout the United States, since 2015.

How do I know my dog has canine influenza?

Dogs can suffer from a mild or severe form of canine influenza. Dogs suffering from the mild form can develop the following symptoms:

  • a persistent cough
  • runny nose with clear discharge turning to yellowish-greenish mucus
  • reduced appetite
  • lethargy
  • difficulty breathing
  • and a fever.

Thick discharge from the nose and eyes can be caused from a secondary bacterial infection. Dogs suffering from the severe form can suffer extremely high fevers of 104°F to 106°F and often show clinical signs of pneumonia.

Can other pets get canine influenza?

There have been reported incidences of the most recent strand of canine influenza found in cats. It is suspected that cats are not the only pets at risk. Guinea pigs, ferrets, birds, and other animals may be at risk for developing flu-like symptoms.  There is no evidence of canine influenza being transmitted to humans or vice versa.

Can my pet die from canine influenza?

Although there are reported deaths from canine influenza, it is estimated that this is only the outcome for less than 10% of the animals infected.  Death has been most common in older dogs with weak immune systems or dogs suffering from severe pneumonia. The majority of infected animals recover in 2 to 3 weeks.

What should I do if my dog or pet is infected?

If your dog is suffering flu-like symptoms, isolate them from any other pets and take them to a vet immediately. If influenza is suspected, your vet may administer fluids to keep your pet hydrated, antibiotics to help battle any secondary infections, and anti-inflammatory medications. This influenza will flourish in compromised immune systems, so the primary focus of your vet will be to strengthen the immune system.

How do I prevent my pet from getting canine influenza?

Well socialized pets are the most at risk of getting infected. If they frequent dog parks, kennels, or doggie daycares there is a high likelihood they could be exposed to the virus. Typically, all dogs exposed will become infected and 80% will begin to show clinical signs within a few days.

The answer is not to keep your pets out of these social settings, the answer is being an alert pet owner:

  • If your pet is infected keep them away from other animals.
  • If boarding your animal, talk to the clinic beforehand and ensure that the facility has not recently had influenza cases.
  • When playing at dog parks, be vigilant of the dogs your dog is interacting with and feel free to talk with the owners about any concerns you may have.

In 2009, a vaccine was developed against the original canine influenza strand, but there is no evidence that this provides protection towards the second strand. In November 2015, a vaccine was developed for the recent virus strand, but it has not been approved for use in cats. Consult with a vet to determine if vaccination is the best route for your pet.

Although canine influenza is not completely unavoidable, we can do our best to avoid putting our animals in harm’ss way. If infection occurs we can provide them with the exceptional care and comfort they need. As pet owners, it is our job to keep our loyal companions happy and healthy.




Image credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham

Ten Facts about Sea Turtles for World Sea Turtle Day

world sea turtle day

Ten Facts about Sea Turtles for World Sea Turtle Day

In honor of World Sea Turtle Day, here are ten fun facts about our reptilian friends!

  1. Sea turtles are ancient!

Fossil evidence of a 5000 pound sea turtle, measuring 13 feet long and 16 feet wide, was found in South Dakota in the 1970’s. This extinct species of sea turtle, known as Archelon, was thought to have lived in the shallow oceans that covered parts of North America 245 million years ago!  These sea turtles are believed to have only survived for 100 years before this ocean over North America dried up!  

World Sea Turtle Day

Frederic A. Lucas – “Animals of the past” 

2. There are 7 species of sea turtles worldwide!

All 7 of these species are either threatened or endangered. In South Florida waters, we see 5 of these species, but only 3 commonly nest on our beaches! The Loggerhead sea turtle is Florida’s most common nester. It weighs 200 to 400 pounds and mainly feeds on crustaceans. The Green sea turtle weights 300 to 500 pounds and primarily eats sea grasses and algae. They cannot digest the chlorophyll in the plants they eat, so their body fat is green, hence where the origin of their name came from. The Leatherback sea turtle is the world’s largest sea turtles, weighing between 1200 to 2000 pounds! They have specialized teeth-like structures in the back of their throats, which help them eat jellyfish.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – Loggerhead sea turtle –

3. Loggerheads love Florida!  

Florida supports 90% of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s nesting Loggerhead population! 20% of Florida’s nesting Loggerheads, nest along the east coast of Florida!

Photo Credit: Cheryl L. Sanchez  – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – Green sea turtle

4. Sea turtles travel back to the beach they originally hatched on.

Once a sea turtle reaches sexual maturity it will travel back to the beach it once emerged from as a hatchling. The females come back to the area to find mates and lay their legs on the same beaches they were laid on, by their mom. The males will go back to the waters surrounding these beaches to mate with as many females as possible.   

Photo Credit: One World One Ocean – Leatherback migratory patterns between foraging grounds and nesting areas.

5. They have a built in GPS system!

Using magnetic fields and the oceans currents, sea turtles can navigate through the oceans with ease! This ability is what helps them find their way from feeding grounds to the waters they once entered as hatchlings. A Leatherback sea turtle was once reported to have traveled 12,000 miles, round-trip, across the Pacific Ocean!

Photo Credit: Cheryl L. Sanchez – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission –

6. The chicks are hot and the dudes are cool!  

The gender of a sea turtles is dependent on the temperatures throughout the nest! Warmer parts of the nest, 85°F or higher, typically result in more females, whereas lower temperatures, below 85°F, tend to result in more male turtles!  In recent years, with rising temperatures, there is concern that nests will begin to produce more female sea turtles. Even worse, this worldwide increase in temperature could decrease the success rates of nests.

Photo Credit: Samantha Arner – Loggerhead sea turtle crawling to ocean

7. Baby sea turtles are on their own from day one!

Hatchling sea turtles are born with all the instincts they need to survive! After a female sea turtle lays her nest she never returns to check on that clutch of eggs. On their own, the babies will emerge from the nest, and using the light of the moon over the ocean, find their way to the water. From the moment they enter the water, they begin using magnetic fields and ocean currents to find their way to safety.

8. Only 1 in 1,000 sea turtles survive!

Sea turtles face a number of threats and obstacles, throughout their lives! Some of the main threats are natural predators and coastal development. Racoons, coyotes, crabs, and birds are responsible for killing a large number of sea turtle hatchlings as they make their way to the ocean. These young, vulnerable creatures, also fall victim to human disturbances. Coastal development has created artificial sky glow, which causes these hatchlings to crawl towards the city instead of to the ocean. They face even more danger, as they enter the water, where large fish lurk. If they are lucky enough to survive to adulthood they still have the potential to fall prey to sharks and with increasing populations, they often suffer fatal boat strike injuries. Biologists estimate that only 1 in 1,000 sea turtles survive until adulthood, but more recent studies claim that that number could be even fewer, at 1 in 10,000.

9. Sea turtles can live 100 years!

Since there are so many obstacles sea turtles face, how long a sea turtle can live remains a mystery. However, scientists believe that it could be close to a century!  

10. They need your help!

Since all species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered, they need our help! Please keep the use of lights at or near the beach to a minimum at night! Leave no trace behind on the beach. Everything that comes with you, must go home with you! Use the proper garbage and recycling reciprocals and eliminate the waste you are putting into the world! Most importantly, spread these fun facts with your friends and families to help the world understand and appreciate the largest reptile of the sea!

Written by: Samantha Arner