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Dogs, like their human companions, are vulnerable to infectious diseases. The dog flu, also known as canine influenza, has become a national concern in recent years. In 2007, veterinary health officials reported outbreaks in two U.S. states. However, in 2019, nearly every state in the country was reporting not just one, but two strains of dog flu. Understanding the contagious nature of the virus, the symptoms, and ways to prevent it is important for protecting your pet’s health.

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1. What is Canine Influenza?

Canine influenza (CI) is an illness that results from the canine influenza virus, an influenza A virus. It is a respiratory type of infection. The type A influenza virus is capable of causing large outbreaks because coughing and sneezing spread the infection. The canine flu is a fairly new virus, so most dogs in the U.S. have no immunity to it and are susceptible to infection. CI is highly contagious. Veterinarians often misinterpret its symptoms as another type of infection. Sometimes the flu exhibits mild symptoms; other times, they are severe.

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