Treating Avian Influenza in Dogs
Recent reports of avian influenza, or bird flu, that has spread to cats and dogs have been greatly exaggerated. To date there is only one confirmed reported case of the avian influenza occurring in a dog; this case occurred in the Republic of Azerbaijan, located in Eurasia, and the dog did not survive.
Many pet owners who share their environment with wild birds wonder if there is a treatment available if their dog comes into contact with a bird that carries the avian influenza. Currently there is no protocol treatment in place for dogs diagnosed with avian influenza, and there is no vaccine that will protect dogs from avian influenza either. In fact, tests for this strain of influenza cannot be conducted yet on live animals.
It is believed that if a dog does become infected with avian influenza, the route of the infection would be through the dog eating raw meat from a bird that was infected with the virus. Fortunately no wild or domestic birds in North America have been identified as carriers of avian influenza at this date.
A Dog's Risk to Bird Flu is Remote
The debate over possible avian influenza infection in dogs continues. At this point it is still not known if exposure to avian influenza would routinely result in infected dogs; there is some additional speculation as to whether it is possible for dogs to have a natural immunity to this virus because they are often immune to many strains of influenza.
Until more is known about this disease in dogs it is difficult to say whether treatment would be possible or not; it is not even known how the disease would affect dogs or what the symptoms may be. To date, the possibility of avian influenza occurring in dogs on a large scale is considered to be highly unlikely.