Like humans our pets can occasionally come down with a case of the sniffles.

You or someone you know will most likely come down with a case of the sniffles this Winter. It’s the time of year for the dreaded lurgy and anyone who escapes its nasty clutches is considered lucky.

So, can our pets catch this virus too?

The answer is yes, and no.

Just like humans, our pets can catch the common cold, a highly contagious virus that spreads from animal to animal and has yet to have an available vaccine. However, it’s not possible to infect your pet with your own cold, nor can they infect you with theirs. The strains that affect humans and animals are completely different.

With that in mind, the symptoms, treatment and preventative measures of a cold in our precious furry friends are very similar to our own.

 SYMPTOMS 

• Cough
• Fever
• Runny Nose
• Lethargy
• Loss of appetite
• Respiratory infection

 TREATMENT 

Because flu’s in our pets can lead to secondary infections it is recommended that you take your pet to your local Vet for a course of antibiotics. This is especially important if your fur friend is either old or very young.

Likewise, symptoms that last more than several days will need to be treated with antibiotics or other medications as this may mean your pet does not have a strong enough immune system to shift the infection themselves.

While recuperating, make sure to give your pet plenty of liquids and healthy foods. If possible, keep them in a warm, humid room to help relieve their sinuses and lungs. Make sure not to over exert a sick pet as they need plenty of rest and do not expose them to cold, harsh temperatures.

Finally, viruses like Bordetella (also known as Kennel Cough) have similar flu-like symptoms so it is important to have your pet checked by your Vet if you have any concerns.

 PREVENTION 

Keeping your pet inside during chilly and wet weather is a start, as exposure to the elements will weaken their immune system and create an environment where viral infections can more easily take hold.

If you are caring for a pet who is sick or know of someone who is then it is important to keep other animals away as they can contaminate each other and you will very quickly have more sick pets to look after.

Giving your pet plenty of exercise, clean water and healthy food is the best way to prevent against the onset of colds as this will boost their immune system to better counteract possible infections in the future.