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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Protect Your Dog from Canine Parainfluenza

How Dog Flu Spreads
This illness is most common among dogs in kennels, shelters, and other environments with multiple dogs present. However, any dog who has not received the parainfluenza vaccine is at risk of picking it up. An uninfected dog can acquire the virus through direct contact with sneeze droplets, cough sputum, and other respiratory secretions of an infected dog.
It’s also possible for your dog to acquire the virus through contact with the bedding, toys, equipment, or clothing of an infected dog. Should your dog test positive for parainfluenza, you will need to disinfect and clean each contaminated item. You’re also required to keep him isolated until a veterinarian has declared him symptom-free.
Dog Flu Symptoms and Treatment
The first signs of canine parainfluenza typically include a runny nose, cough, and fever. While some dogs become extremely ill and develop pneumonia after displaying these symptoms, others don’t display any symptoms even though they’re infected. That’s why getting the parainfluenza vaccine and regular boosters is so important. We urge you to contact Minnesota Veterinary Hospital for an immediate appointment if you notice these symptoms or suspect your dog had contact with an infected dog.
Fortunately, most dogs diagnosed with this virus respond well to comfort care and medication. You should monitor your dog carefully to make sure that she stays hydrated and appears comfortable. We may need to prescribe an antibiotic for your dog if she displays signs of a secondary infection caused by parainfluenza.
It's Better to Prevent Than Treat
Perhaps you get a flu shot every year to avoid the misery that illness brings. Your dog should also receive an annual vaccination to prevent parainfluenza and the potentially serious complications that come with it. We encourage you to stay current with your dog’s annual preventive care exams as well.
Minnesota Veterinary Hospital protects all dogs staying in our boarding facility by requiring proof of a current parainfluenza virus. Whether you need medical care for your pet or a place to board him while you travel, we look forward to working with you soon.