you’ve heard of the bird flu and the swine flu, but have you ever heard of the dog flu? me neither.
well, that’s not entirely true, when we scheduled belle for boarding at the doggie hotel this past fall, they insisted that the get a flu shot. never having heard of a flu shot for a dog, i figured it was just one more sneaky money maker for the kennel since they offered to administer the shot there. but, no shot, no boarding, so we took her to our vet for the first of two shots. the vet was very well aware that the doggie hotel where we were boarding belle had an outbreak of flu last year so now required the shots as a prerequisite for a stay.
so, in the middle of last week’s headlines about the flu epidemic gripping the nation, belle started looking sick. our boisterous, loud dog was listless and quiet and had a funny breathing pattern. more worrisome, she was burning hot as though she had a fever, but shivering. and the biggest sign? she stopped eating.
the vet confirmed it was the doggie flu. check out the symptoms and causes here. he confirmed the fever and the congestion and said to be careful to monitor because this could turn into pneumonia. he said he had seen a couple cases before belle, that it was spread by contact the same way human flu is spread. it does not jump species, that is, belle’s flu did not come from us nor could we get the flu from her.
the vet put her on antibiotics since she also had a sinus infection. C is very good at giving the dog her medications, but this time she kept throwing them up about an hour later, so he adjusted her feeding so she always has enough in her stomach to help her out. it seems to be working, but because she missed some doses it’s taking her quite some time to recover from getting knocked down.
having a sick dog takes me right back to having sick little kids. very little, like before they could really talk. and because they can’t talk, it’s all up to you to figure out how sick they are and what it might be. once diagnosed, you have to constantly monitor them to make sure they are getting their medications on time and more importantly, drinking lots of fluids. most of the time the kids bounced back pretty quickly. belle is not bouncing back very fast.
C and i are watching to make sure she is drinking and eating, but we have to coax her up off of the chair or couch to come get food or water or to go out. she is very weak and listless. and quiet, which is very unusual for belle. she just looks sad. though she doesn’t like the meds, it seems like she kind of understand that in giving her the meds C is helping her feel better. or at least she hasn’t tried to bite him lately.
it’s been almost a week since we first noticed belle’s sickness and she on the mend, but it’s very slow going. today she put her nose up to sniff the wind (her favorite), and that’s the first time in over a week.
i’m sure she’ll be fine, but it seems like it’s going to take some time. so join the club if you’ve never heard of or had a dog with the flu. but here’s our precautionary tale.