Your pet and the flu: What you need to know

The flu is spreading like wildfire in Texas, and many people affected are seeing what they believe are symptoms in their pets.

The flu season is hitting people hard, but what about your pets?

They’re our best friends. Furry, four legged, and full of love - and keeping them healthy is a top priority.

With the flu a growing concern, many are asking: Can my pet catch it too?

Dr. Tony Malone,  the medical director of the Houston Humane society, says the simple answer is yes. “Flu is seen year-round in pets,” Malone said.

It mostly affects dogs and the signs are much like what you see in people.

“Sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, ocular discharge,” Malone said.

They’ve even got a dog influenza vaccine his staff has been giving to pups coming into his clinic.

“It’s a subcutaneous injection, we give it over the shoulder blade,” Malone said.

But before those of you coughing, sneezing and aching start to panic, Dr. Malone has a disclaimer: “Dog flu and people flu are not related, it’s not zoonotic, meaning dogs can’t pass the flu to their owners and people can’t pass the flu to their dogs,”

So why are people with the flu seeing similar symptoms in their pets?

“They’re at home and they have more time, so they’re looking at their animals now cuz they’re there, paying attention,” Malone said.

He said it’s all in your head, the dog strains and the human strains are different. Unlike the human flu, they haven’t seen many cases of doggy flu in his clinic this flu season, but Dr. Malone still recommends getting your pups vaccinated.

Related:

FLU GUIDE | 3 ways to fight the flu

Five flu-related deaths confirmed in Houston area

Flu spreading fast through Houston, hospitals at capacity

As Houston fights the flu, restaurants sell soup by the quart

© 2018 KHOU-TV


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