As winter approaches, immune systems are compromised, with the changing seasons affecting most people to some degree.
Dogs and cats also suffer from flu and colds that can at times be quite serious. Typically, they are transferred between animals, so humans cannot make their pets sick.
Cats can get flu and an upper respiratory infection caused by either feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus, explains Hills Pet. In rarer cases, chlamydophila felis is another bacterium affecting cats.
Young and older cats are more at risk, due to the possibility of their immune systems being compromised. Cat flu can turn into pneumonia if not treated.
An infected cat’s saliva can transfer the disease. It is advised that if your cat is sick, keep it away from other cats.
Cats can become carriers of cat flu even after they have been cured. Those who have up-to-date vaccinations should be less at risk.
Symptoms of cat flu:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Runny nose and eyes
- Loss of appetite; not wanting to drink
- Laboured breathing; loss of voice
A strain of dog flu, H3N8, if left untreated can turn into pneumonia, explains Pet MD.
Puppies and older dogs are more likely to get very ill. Dogs catch the flu by having an infected canine sneeze, cough or bark on it.
Symptoms of dog flu:
- Sneezing and coughing
- Runny nose
- Fatigue and loss of appetite
Some dogs show no symptoms, but may still be infectious.
There is a vaccine for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains, which will significantly reduce the severity of the illness.
Because a lack of appetite and not wanting to drink water can be potentially life-threatening, make sure to encourage your fur babies to eat by hand-feeding them and giving them strong-smelling food.
Monitor how much water they drink as well, and if need be, fill a syringe and gently shoot water into their mouth.
See a vet as often as necessary to ensure they recover quickly.
Sources: Bluecross, Hills Pet website, Pet MD