Shih Tzu - The Canine Flu Outbreak of 2005

Published: 26th November 2005
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The canine flu outbreak in the summer of 2005 can be thought of as equivalent to colds and flu that people get. It spreads much the same way, through direct contact, through the air, and through exposure to whatever the virus touches. The symptoms are similar as well, with infected dogs or shih tzu developing a runny nose, fever, and a persistent cough that can last for two to three weeks. The severity of symptoms varies because there are two forms of the illness. The mild form can come and go unnoticed, but the dog or shih tzu will still be a carrier. The dog or shih tzu can look and act normal and still have an active infection. The more severe form of canine flu is obvious with acute symptoms that can turn into pneumonia.

The canine flu's signature cough is different from kennel cough. Kennel cough is a hacking cough, and the dog or shih tzu usually feels fine otherwise. With canine flu the cough is a soft, moist cough. There will be a high fiver, nasal discharge, rapid, shallow breathing, loss of energy and loss of appetite. These last symptoms appear when the illness has progressed to pneumonia. Canine flu does not normally produce vomiting, diarrhea or other intestinal problems in dogs or the shih tzu.

The canine flu virus is not related to human flu or to the avian (bird) flu that has killed people in Asia. No humans have been infected with the canine flu.

The canine flu's mortality rate is very low with estimates of about 5 percent. Those at greatest risk of developing complications are older dogs or older shih tzu, young puppies or young shih tzu puppies, and any dog or shih tzu with a weak immune system. The canine flu is NEW, but not that new. The canine flu was first identified two years ago.

Which dogs or which shih tzu are at risk? All dogs and all shih tzu are at risk. Some areas have been hit harder than others. It is estimated that the odds are very high your dog or shih tzu has already been exposed or soon will be. Wherever you live, this flu will eventually arrive.

The virus is airborne and spreads easily. Dogs or shih tzu who develop symptoms will do so within 24 to 72 hours of exposure. The exact incubation period is unknown. A infected dog or shih tzu will be contagious for at least a few days and possibly weeks. No one knows how long the virus is viable on surfaces, but it probably survives at least 24 hours and may live even longer.

Can the canine flu be prevented? Everything boils down to the individual shih tzu or dog's immune system. There is no vaccine for the canine flu.

The other key factor is diet. You can do a lot to improve your shih tzu or dog's immune system just by improving the quality of his food. One supplement that may be helpful for preventing viral infections is Thymex, which is a thymus gland supplement that stimulates an immune response, and Cataplex A-C-P, which is antioxidant-bioflavonoid blend that increases white blood cells and improves lung-related respiratory diseases. HealthyPetNet Life's Abundance dog food and daily supplement is an excellent choice for improving the immune system in dogs and the shih tzu.

An herbal classic from Juliette de Bairacli Levy, the famous herbalist whose Natural Rearing philosophy has improved the health of dogs and the shih tzu for more than 60 years is an Herbal Compound supplement that contains garlic, rue, sage, thyme, eucalyptus, and wormwood all serious infection fighters in a base of vegetable charcoal.

Coconut oil is recommended to dogs and the shih tzu as a flu preventive. Feeding your dog or shih tzu coconut oil everyday, preferably two or three times per day is an excellent way to prevent infection. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil kill most strains of flu virus and, taken daily, should be effective against the canine flu.

Do not panic! As the canine flu virus spreads across the United States and the world, it will continue to cause shih tzu and dog owners confusion and stress. Headlines in the news and rumors always paint a worst than really is picture of anything that makes the headlines and news of our world. The worst case scenarios does not have to happen to your dog or shih tzu. With a little help, your shih tzu and dog's immune system can respond efficiently to any contagious disease, including canine flu.

Connie Limon is a shih tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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