PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some people are worried about their pets getting the flu because so many people are infected.
There is canine influenza, more commonly known as the dog flu, and the symptoms are similar to what humans get. But it’s not the same virus.
The flu is now widespread across the country and so are respiratory infections and colds.
Victoria Roldan has a cold, as she suffers from a sore throat, ear infection and coughing.
With so many people sick with contagious ailments, many are asking, “Can my pet catch it too?”
“Flu is seen year round in pets,” said Dr. Tony Malone of the Humane Society.
Veterinarians say canine influenza mainly affects dogs and the signs are much like what you see in people.
Dr. Malone listed “sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, ocular discharge” as some of the signs.
But that’s where the similarity end as the flu cannot be spread between people and pets.
“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,” Dr. Malone explained.
The strains are different and while human influenza happens during winter months, dog flu that’s spread from pet to pet can happen any time of the year.
There are currently no localized canine outbreaks but some people are worried about seeing flu symptoms in their pets.
“They’re at home and they have more time, so they’re looking at their animals now cause they’re there, paying attention,” Dr. Malone said.
The best way to keep your dog healthy, just like with people, is to get them vaccinated. There are flu shots for people and their four-legged best friends but made with different formulations.
Dog flu can be spread between animals or in food bowls, which is why veterinarians say pet owners should be careful in places like grooming salons, day care and dog parks.
In terms of human flu, no worries of that making dogs sick — just other people.