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The Dog Flu or Canine Influenza

So, can dogs get the flu? Yes they can. The canine influenza is a virus like a human flu. Antibiotics do not attack viruses only the secondary infections that are caused while the immune system is low. Vaccinating during this time is not a good idea because it will only overload the immune system. The main secondary problem that I have read about in the reports is pneumonia along with a high fever and dehydration.

If your dog starts to cough, which sounds similar to kennel cough, go immediately to your Veterinarian so your dog can be started on board spectrum antibiotics and be monitored. If your Vet suspects the Influenza, he/she may take a blood sample to send to the lab for verification.

The morbidity rate, which is the percentage of dogs that will contract the disease after exposure, is 80%. With proper care they will recover easily. The mortality rate, which is the percentage of death due to the disease, is 5 to 8 % which is considered low.

The best thing you can do for your dog is to boost their immune system, be aware of your surroundings with other dogs, and seek medical attention immediately. A dog that is healthy has the best chance of a rapid recovery.

Canine Influenza treatment

Here is a list of some Immune Stimulating Herbs, Vitamins and Natural Remedies

Astragalus – boost the immune system and produces anticancer cells. It is a strong antioxidant and helps protect the liver from toxins. Most effective when used long term on a daily basis. It increases the body production of interferon, which helps to protect against virus invading the cells. Caution: DO NOT use this herb in the presence of fever or if you are on immunosuppressive therapy or blood thinners. .

Goldenseal – powers up the immune system at the onset of a cold and very effective on skin infections, cleanses the body and has antibacterial properties but is not useful as a systemic antibiotic. Caution: DO NOT take goldenseal internally for more than 1 week, during pregnancy and be cautious if there is a ragweed allergy. DO NOT take if you have diabetes.

Echinacea –short term boost to the immune system making colds and flu shorter and less severe. It is not a long term immune system enhancer. Caution: DO NOT take Echinacea internally more than 14 days as it will loose its effect. DO NOT take if there is an autoimmune disease such as lupus and if you are trying to get pregnant. It can decrease fertility.

Vitamin C - effects viruses bacteria and viruses. Laboratory test suggest that the flu viruses are 10,000 time more infective if Vitamin C levels are low. 500 mg daily is adequate for a 40 to 60 lb dog but and you need to increase to 500 mg twice a day when fighting an infection. If you are taking more Vitamin C then you body can handle you will get diarrhea, decrease the dosage.

Maitake, Shitake, and Reishi – these Chinese mushrooms boost the immune system and help the body resist disease including viruses and cancer. Use as a complex for only three months at a time, stop a month and then resume. Caution: DO NOT use if on blood thinners.

Elderberry - an effective herb for treating and preventing respiratory infections, constipation and fever. Caution: Do not use uncooked berries; they will cause nausea and vomiting. Large doses of Elderberry juice will cause diarrhea.

Siberian Ginseng – has proven ability to prevent upper respiratory infections. Siberians ginseng is considered an adaptogen in that it normalizes body functions. Taken eight to ten weeks before the flu season it reduces the incidence of the disease by more than 95%. It stimulates interferon which interferes with every stage of viral infections. Make sure it is Siberian Ginseng as an eleuthero extract or actually contain real Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus ). Caution: DO NOT use too close to bedtime as it can cause insomnia ( just what we need, the dog wanting to play or go for a run at 3 in the morning ). Do not use in males with a prostate disorder, if you have high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or related diseases.

Noni Juice (morinda citrifola ) – recent studies indicate Noni helps regulating proper cell function. Noni is considered an adaptogen and has a wide range of use. Make sure the product is of good quality and not diluted with water or with added sugar. Not all products are equal here.

There are other herbs that could also help like olive leaf and ginger but I wanted a plan that only included a few remedies that was not too complicated. Most herbals and supplements dosage directions are based on a 100 pound person so you can adjust the amount according to the weight of your dog. A 50 lb dog use half the suggested amount and a 25 pound dog use 1/4 the suggested amount. I will base the following on a medium size dog 40 to 60 lbs.

A sample program to treat the dog flu

Astragalus – One capsule twice a day with for 3 weeks then one capsule a day for maintenance

Vitamin C – 500 mg of Ester C with bioflavonoids daily with food. Increase to 1000 mg if fighting an infection.

Maitake, Shitake, and Reishi Complex One capsule twice daily with food for 3 weeks then once a day for one week for 3 months

Siberian Ginseng – One capsule twice a day for 3 weeks then once a day for maintenance

Tahitian Noni Juice – ¾ of an ounce a day for 3 weeks then ¾ of an ounce every other day till desired effect. Maintenance dosage ¾ oz 3 times a week. An always on my shelf favorite

Colloidal Silver – a healing agent and disinfectant. Is effective against more than 650 diseases and is good for fighting colds and flu taken internally and topically used on wounds for bacteria and fungus. You can use a spray to coat the inside of the mouth. It is believed that viruses are unable to replicate because the silver destroys their protective protein coat. A always on my shelf favorite.

An Idea that may help: Viruses need a host cell to replicate. They enter thru the cell membrane. If the environment is healthy and the condition are not as ideal to the replication process maybe we can lessen the degree of illness, shorten the duration of the illness, and make it easier on the body to fight the illness thus lessening the chance of secondary infection.

At the first sign of a cough, place a dropperful of Echinacea and Goldenseal and Elderberry in the mouth. Hopefully it will remain in their mouth for 5 minutes. Echinacea and Goldenseal in the liquid form taste bad (try it yourself) but works very well in stopping the virus from replicating. I suggest using a spray bottle and adding some Noni Juice to enhance the effect and help with the taste. If the dog is coughing frequent dosing is recommended at the beginning and then tapering off some everyday.

Dog coughing

  • Day 1 – spray or syringe into mouth every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Day 2 – spray or syringe into mouth every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Day 3 and 4 – spray or syringe into mouth every 4 to 5 hours.
  • Day 5 and 6- spray or syringe into mouth twice a day.
  • Day 7 and 8 – spray or syringe into mouth once a day.

I plan to use this mixture while at a dog show spraying their mouths before and after showing and again at bedtime. When returning from the show all the dogs in the kennel will be sprayed for 5 days every morning and night. In any event it will sure do a number on any periodontal disease they have. You can also syringe the mixture into their mouth running it along their gum lines. I use this method with the Noni for any gum irritations.

For an easier method you may want to spray their mouths with just Colloidal Silver. If I have sick dogs I will use the Noni mixture and in between the Colloidal Silver spray.

This article is to provide information on complementary health care for pets. It is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription for any disease. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUE FOR VETERINARY CARE