The Plague & Dog Flu: What you need to know


Plague can be fatal to both pets and humans if not properly diagnosed and treated. Plague is an infectious disease that affects rodents, certain other animals, and humans. It is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. People most commonly acquire plague when they are bitten by a flea that is infected with the plague bacteria. People can also become infected from direct contact with infected tissues or fluids while handling an animal that is sick with or that has died from plague. Finally, people can become infected from inhaling respiratory droplets after close contact with cats and humans with pneumonic plague.

Symptoms of plague include:

  • fever,
  • chills,
  • headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • weakness
  • and sometimes tender and swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck.


Plague is a very serious illness, but is treatable with commonly available antibiotics. The earlier a patient seeks medical care and receives treatment that is appropriate for plague, the better their chances are of a full recovery. People in close contact with very sick pneumonic plague patients may be evaluated and possibly placed under observation. Preventive antibiotic therapy may also be given, depending on the type and timing of personal contact.

Dog Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Canine Flu also known as dog flu is respiratory disease caused by two types of influenza viruses. The viruses are an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus. It is highly contagious and can cause serious illness.

Are all dogs at risk?

Yes, all dogs regardless of breed or age are susceptible of infection if exposed to the virus. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association nearly all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and nearly 80% show clinical signs of disease.

What are signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?

The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.

How serious is canine influenza?

There are two forms of Canine Influenza in dogs, a mild form and a severe form.

  • Mild form:

    • Soft, moist cough lasting 10 - 30 days.
    • Dogs may appear lethargic
    • Reduced appetite
    • Thick nasal discharge
  • Severe form:

    • High fever
    • Clinical signs of pneumonia

How is canine influenza treated?

The CDC says treatment largely consists of supportive care to help your dog overcome the disease. The CDC website says this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Can canine influenza viruses infect humans?

There has never been a reported human case of canine flu. The CDC says there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people.

Source: Key Facts about Canine Influenza CDC website.

Source: Canine Influenza FAQ AVMA website.


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