Canine Flu Hits Austin, Texas

sick Akita with dog flu

Canine flu. Blah. <Cough!> <Cough!> Retttch!

Canine Flu? Yes, But Now There’s a Remedy!

It looks like Austin is about to get on the map for an infectious dog disease that’s making the rounds in the Midwest. Based on symptoms, I’m betting I’m treating dog flu, in my long standing clients’ family of three Akitas. Right here in the Texas Hill Country.

And just when I thought I’d be writing a quick blog piece entitled, “Dog Flu is Dead!” — I’d not heard of any further cases since posting about dog flu several weeks ago.

These three dogs are following the same pattern reported in dogs in the Midwest dog flu epidemic posted earlier:

  • The illness starts with sneezing
  • Coughing follows, and is harsh and often ends with retching
  • Cough is dry
  • Cough is worsened with exertion
  • Watery eyes
  • A bit of drippy nose

Sara and Karen’s dogs aren’t acting very lethargic, and none are restless, compared to reports from dog flu parents elsewhere in the country. But they are sick, a bit withdrawn, and pretty intense coughing is the predominant symptom of their illness.

A New Epidemic Remedy Discovered for Dog Flu

Mica, a three year old spayed female, was the first of their pack to fall ill on Monday night, May 4th. On a walk that night, it appeared to Karen that Mica must have inhaled something, as she suddenly started sneezing repeatedly. Just as suddenly, coughing followed, coming in waves, 5-7 in a row, and every 3-4 hours another bout would grip her. The frequency of the attacks increased steadily until they became hourly by Tuesday morning.

No one slept very well that night.

Tuesday afternoon, Mica had already been scheduled for a routine vet visit for her Spring heartworm test and exam. [She was negative on her heartworm test, and has been on my Drug Free Heartworm Program all of her life!]. The doctor she saw posited that, even though she had a slight fever, it might be allergies or an inhaled foreign body, like a piece of grass.

She recommended an antihistamine and a whiff or two of steroids, both of which were declined by Sara.

The brightest news is that, on her own, Karen looked at Mica’s symptoms and decided to try a remedy from my emergency remedy kit called Phosphorus 30C. It worked brilliantly! [An earlier cough remedy, called drosera 30C, helped only a bit, so was abandoned after a couple of doses.]

One on The Mend, Two More Sick

When I consulted with Sara and examined Mica, I also didn’t think canine influenza was likely. She looked quite healthy, though she did cough in my exam room several times. As she had decreased her symptoms significantly from her homeopathic phosphorus (70%, by Sara’s estimate), I was confident that, what ever was causing her to cough, she was mounting an excellent response and would soon be well.

I sent her home with a higher potency of phosphorus, 200C, to use if the improvement ceased.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email from Sara this morning.

Well dang, I think we may have a household case of dog flu after all.  The symptoms hit  Yogi [11yr old male] Friday afternoon and Taiko [3.5 yr old male, Mica’s sibling] Friday night [5/8].”

Both were early in the course, so we’ve decided to treat both new cases with the phosphorus 200C, and I sent Sara home with Phosphorus 1M to give to Mica, should see not continue to get well. (It’s a common practice to raise the potency of a remedy that’s slowed down in helping the patient.)

Initial doses of the phosphorus in Yogi and Taiko brought some improvement, but not as dramatic as Sara saw with Mica.

The Treatment Plan

We’ll stick with homeopathic phosphorus for all three dogs for now, repeating a dose when ever they either cease improving for six hours or more, or they lose their improvement and start to worsen. That’ll be judged mostly by how frequently each dog is coughing: if it’s getting less frequent and less intense, great, the remedy is helping them “fight the good fight.”

If any of the dogs stops responding to phosphorus in any potency, our Plan B, based on my analysis posted earlier, is to change to homeopathic Nux vomica 30C, which Sara and Karen have ready in their emergency remedy kit.

Your Best Bet at Canine Flu Prevention, Updated

Remember the dog flu prevention protocol I posted earlier? I thought the remedy was likely nux vomica, based on my analysis, but I’m changing my tune. Based on Mica’s brilliant response to Phosphorus 30c, if you suspect dog flu in your area (hearing any coughing dogs?), I’d go back and read this post, where you’ll see I’ve simply substituted Phosphorus 30C for the Nux vomica 30C.

Real life experience with homeopathy in sick patients will always trump theory. We’ve got Mica rapidly improving, and that means the remedy Phosphorus is likely to be your best dog flu prevention now. In that earlier post, I’ve also now put Nux vomica in the #2 position, instead of Bryonia.

The vaccine is still likely to be worthless. Remember: it’s for the H3N8 canine flu. Not likely to work on this epidemic, caused by the H3N2 flu virus. And you know the damage that comes from vaccination, right?

I wouldn’t touch the dog flu vaccine with a dirty ten foot stick.

Please Tell Us Here if You Think You See Dog Flu Near You

Just when I thought the dog flu epidemic had died, it looks like it may be right in my own backyard. Keep your eyes open and jump into the comments if you see canine influenza-like symptoms anywhere near you. Central Texans, I’m talking especially to you.

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  1. Samantha on August 23, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Omgoodness I’m so glad I found this website. My 2 terriers had been feeling unwell at least 2-3 days before I found this Phosphorus remedy. I bought it Sunday afternoon, dosed that night and by the morning they were different dogs, severity of symptoms were slashed. Continued with dosing and was amazed each morning. By Wednesday symptoms practically gone. Today (Thursday) symptoms appear to be eradicated. Will keep an eye on them. So happy to see them not suffer and so thankful for this article. Works wonders.
    Thanks again from a dog mama in Northern Ireland, UK

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 23, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Oh, very nice work, Samantha! Bravo! Would you list out the symptoms you saw please? Any mention in Ireland of flu in dogs? Crazy how the press in the States has tried to paint it to be a dreadful disease. Tell us more, please!

      • Samantha on August 25, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        We don’t really get a lot of press about animal health. Usually it would be veterinary practices advising their clients if they see a lot of dogs come in with it. Although you get a lot of insistence on giving your dog Kennel Cough vaccine and I’m reluctant to do it, just as I’m reluctant to get the human flu jab. Doesn’t work.

        So my dogs symptoms started with excessive sneezing, which quickly progressed to include the harsh coughing type, I’d describe it more as sounding like you can’t breathe. This article mentioned running nose, which made me.look more closely & yes what I thought was just a normal wet nose was in fact running – dogs licking their noses more than usual to ‘wipe’ their runny noses. These symptoms just seemed constant throughout the day & getting worse as I tried first bed rest & a cough syrup, getting them up for pee etc. They clearly were distressed by it and so was I. I knew the vet would just give them a jab and who knows what else. I did that once and it certainly didn’t assist in their recovery. They suffered for about 2 weeks.

        So I was on the search for a real remedy when I came across your article late Saturday night. Waited for shops to open on the Sunday (1pm) and headed to my health food shop, bought both the Phosphorus & Nux V, just in case, but need the Nux V.

        Not a single symptom showing today (Friday) I’m so so grateful for your fabulous insight.

        First dose Sunday night, again Monday morning & Monday night. Symptom free Friday.
        It’ll now be in my armoury should they take flu again.

      • Samantha on August 25, 2018 at 8:35 pm

        Also the hoarse like cough/breathing made worse and/or brought on my exertion or stress situations (one of my dogs reactive to certain other dogs). This cough/breathing is paralytic, would stop my dogs in their tracts as they tried to breathe normally

        • Will Falconer, DVM on August 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm

          Thanks very much, Samantha. I admire your pluck and refusal to simply buy into the conventional medical model that’s let you down before.

          It almost sounds like you’re describing what we call “reverse sneezing” in the US — kind of a spasmodic gasping for breath, comes in waves, but I think the sneezing –> cough later sounds fitting for the canine flu I’ve heard of.

          Three doses of a simple remedy, found where ever homeopathic remedies are sold, and steady improvement to normal in 5 days. That’s pretty awesome!

          Thanks for sharing the experience from an Irish perspective.

          Readers: geography is a small player, as you can see. Samantha matched her dogs’ symptoms with those of the remedies mentioned, decided phosphorus sounded close, gave it a go, and had a brilliant outcome. For probably $5 or less!

  2. Kelly Burgess on August 31, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I just adopted a dog from the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control center during the Clear the Shelters adoption campaign. It appears the dog must have been exposed at the shelter, because I brought her home on Sunday night, and by Friday night, one of my dogs at home lost interest in eating. By Saturday, she was very ill with sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing through the nose, lethargy, fever, and total lack of appetite. By the end of the weekend, all three dogs had symptoms, but not as severe as my smallest dog in the pack. The shelter dog does more coughing than the others, ending it vomiting clear mucous repeatedly. I noticed it’s mostly when her stomach is empty, so if I feed her a little something early in the morning when her coughing is the worst, she will cough but not vomit. They are all 3 sneezing. The smallest dog is clearly the most ill. I ordered a homeopathic remedy for nasal symptoms from Amazon and began administering it to all 3 dogs on Tuesday late morning. I’ve seen improvement in the shelter dog and my largest dog. My smallest dog (5 year old, 19-lb. labeagle), who was also a former shelter dog, is still pretty sick, but she has shown some improvement with the drops. She was far sicker than the others before we started the remedy, so I didn’t expect her improvement to be as significant as theirs. In any case, she became a bit more active…following us to other rooms, getting in my lap for loving, and following the other dogs outside to use the bathroom. She will only eat out of my hand, and only a very small amount. For at least one meal a day, she turns her head away completely and refuses to eat. I’ve been getting her different foods to eat to entice her…it seems the only thing to tempt her is chunks with gravy. Anyway, I’m also offering her a variety of treats to get some calories into her, but she mostly refuses those, too. Her eyes are running more than usual leaving tear tracks on her face, and she is sniffling constantly. It leaves her not well rested, and I feel bad for her. What else can I do, and should I be concerned about complication in this one dog? The shelter dog was already scheduled for her first vet exam next week, and the largest dog is only affected in a limited way. Those two dogs are eating well and very active. Any suggestions on what I can do for the little dog to make her more comfortable and/or shorten/lessen the severity of her symptoms?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 31, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Hey Kelly,
      Sounds like it’d be worth following my free protocol for dog flu. Here’s the link to the article where you’ll see a big old orange button to download and get started:
      Thanks for your fostering efforts. I hope these guys all get back to their forever homes soon.

  3. Theresa Bartomeo on June 20, 2017 at 7:28 am

    For the dog Flu I understand to use Phosphorus 30C….1 pellet daily right before bed but there aren’t instructions on the Nux Vomica 30C, if Nux Vomica 30C is needed….how is Nux Vomica given? Is it the same as the instructions as Phosphorus 30C?

    • Theresa Bartomeo on June 20, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Found the answer: If you’ve not had success in an established dog flu from Phosphorus, please try Nux vomica 30C, which also reads quite well for this flu. The protocol for both follows.
      How to Dose
      I’ll suggest two different dosing protocols, depending on where your dogs are in the dog flu scenario.
      Not Yet Sick, But Potential Exposure Possible
      I’d give these dogs one pellet daily of Phosphorus 30C, right before bed. You can buy

      • Will Falconer, DVM on June 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

        Hey Theresa,
        I’ve made it much easier to understand the homeopathic protocols now. Just head to this most up to date post on the current round of dog flu and download your free report. Sorry for the confusion earlier.

  4. Rachelle Bennett on June 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    This year’s Canine Flu is causing a big stir and a lot of FEAR. Planning on using Phosphorus if needed. I have heard a lot of “stories” but no one close to me has experienced thus far.

  5. Paula on June 11, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I have been reading your posts and I was in Monroe, LA on Memorial Day weekend. There were two dogs at the dog show that came down with dog flu. I decided to stay for the rest of the weekend since I thought my dogs may have been exposed to this virus anyway. I was very careful with my dogs and didn’t hang around after showing each day.
    Anyway, it had been 15 days after I got home that one of my dogs started coughing. It was more of a wet cough. Never ran fever, didn’t go out her food, not sneezing just the coughing. The coughing wasn’t all the time either. Now I have several dogs with the same symptons but still no fever, sneezing, and haven’t gone off their food. I am thinking it is more kennel cough than the dog flu. If this is kennel cough, does the phosphorus 30c work for them in the advance stages. Do I do the proceedure that you are prescribing for the dog flu? I am using a herbal broncial syrup to help with the moisture in the broncial tubes and a honey base cough syrup. I just need to know what to do.
    Thank you, Dr. Will.

  6. Colleen on June 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

    One week ago I learned of the flu at a show in Fla. Then Ga., and it is now in NC. I have already skipped 2 classes and am unsure what to do. I have one dog signed up in 3 separate classes and one in two separate classes. She is also entered in an obedience trial this coming weekend. My husband also has his dog signed up for an agility class.
    I gave them all Colloidal Silver this morning and was planning to continue. Also planned to order Transfer Factor, as I did when I wrote about my dog with the lump on his head. That is all gone, and the lump was not anything bad, but I forgot what he called it.
    I just read the above about Homeopathic which I will give just before the trial, and also before classes. If we decide to go or just skip everything. Your recommendation please!!
    And would the CS and TF be beneficial at all?
    Thank you!!

  7. Katie on August 17, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I think I have two pups here in the round rock area that may have contracted this. Going to see an internal med vet today to see. All of the symptoms minus fever, and all regular illnesses have been ruled out.

  8. Logan on July 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the info. I think of phosphorus 30c as a preventive when I head to our nation as I known there been flu outbreak in state I be driving though.
    My question is when would I want start the item as a preventive like a day before going to the out brake area or
    Thank u

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Yes, Logan. Preventatives close to the time of exposure would be best. Where is the outbreak you know of? And are there many cases, do you know?
      I’d love to have feedback on responses to the phosphorus (or nux v, if phos doesn’t work). Please post back if you would.

      • Logan on July 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

        Thank u Dr.. I been told north Carolina is have an outbreak.
        I heard someone lost 2 young PWD in that state and rest of the dogs at their house are sick with the symptoms
        Again this is what I heard. They are waiting on lab report back to confirm the flu or not.
        I will definitely post when I back from the trip but won’t be for a few weeks. Thanks for u help.

  9. Luna on May 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Hi there- It’s snake season (again, already!) in NC. I live in an area with copperheads seen frequently on walks. I’m also going to the NC mountains next week, where we may also encounter rattlesnakes. I recently read an article in Whole Dog Jpurnal which listed 4 remedies for snakebite (the article was about rattlers in CA) : lachesis mutus, cedron, crotalus horribilis and crotalus cascavela, all at 30C potency. I have been completely unable to find symptom pictures for any but lachesis. Can you help?
    Thanks so much!
    Luna & Tasi ( curious golden retriever)

  10. Sara S on May 14, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Just heard that on 5/12/2015 news outlets in Houston reported a confirmed dog flu case in that area. Just search ‘dog flu houston May 2015’

  11. SaraS on May 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Just wanted to let folks know that Mica, the dog Dr. Falconer discusses at the beginning of this post, has been completely symptom free since Sunday, May 10. That is 7 days since the rapid onset of symptoms and 5 days from the start of treatment with Phosphorus. The severity of her symptoms decreased quickly once she received Phosphorus 30C at first, and then 200c, and one dose at the 1M concentration. Her liter-mate, Taiko, responded better with Nux Vomica rather than Phos. As of today, 7 days after onset, he is much improved and only coughing slightly. Our 11 yr old male, Yogi, has actually had the easiest time of it. Phosphorus was spot on for him. He started receiving doses at the first instant of symptom onset and was all done — symptom-free — in 5 days from the beginning of treatment.

  12. Stacey on May 12, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Good morning Doc, How does one go about acquiring your 50 remedy kit that you mentioned. Was there a course on it I missed? I have your small homeo emergency kit through DNM w/ the symptom book.
    Thanks much!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 12, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Hey Stacey,
      Just send me an email through my Contact page with a subject line to trigger me and I’ll send you info on it. Just showed it off to the reporter from the local ABC affiliate today. We should be on Austin TV tomorrow evening, talking about all this. Star of the show: Mica, 3 yr old female Akita who, once her owner figured out phosphorus, got over her flu in about 3 days! Brilliant response in a lovely dog.
      I’ll put a link to the clip in Vital Animal News next week so y’all can share in it with me. Pretty high day today.

      • Stacey Zanella on May 25, 2015 at 9:56 am

        I will shoot you an email Doc.

  13. Lynn Whinery on May 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I’m wondering if my dogs have/had the dog flu. I live in San Diego. I have 6 dogs, 5 Australian Shepherds and one Yorkie, along with 7 cats. Recently my dogs started coughing, but it was like ‘reverse sneezing’. It started with one dog, then moved to a couple of others, and lasted a couple of weeks. It seems to have cleared up on its own, but was quite unnerving while it lasted!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 11, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Lynn,
      That sure sounds infectious, doesn’t it? Reverse sneezing connotes gasping, spasmodically, like the airways have temporarily closed. Could last 10″ which seems like an eternity to a worried dog mom. I liken it to a sudden asthma attack, though it’s not, strictly speaking.
      This flu is characterized by a harsh dry cough that often comes in a bout of several coughs, and ends in a gagging retch. Most, but not all, started with full on sneezing, according to reports I’ve gathered.
      So, I’d guess you had something different, unless you saw some of those symptoms in each sick dog.

      • Natty on May 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

        Dr Falconer-
        We are just north of San Diego in Orange County. My 7 month old pup started that in Mid-to late April. Some runny nose and the reverse sneezing. Lasted a few wks.
        A few days ago, his right ear was very red. He is itching some. Doesn’t want it touched. Had the brown like coffee ground wax inside(ear mites?). We cleaned it with green tea and gauze/qtips past 1 days. gave 1 dose of sulpher 30c past two days. He was itching in the middle of the night. Ear redness is less, seems a little less painful for us to touch.
        Should I continue with Sulpher or change to something more deeper cleaning like Sil? Very new to Homeopathy.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on May 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm

          Hi Natty,
          Hmmm, not sure you had dog flu, but now you’re dealing with chronic disease, which is well beyond the scope of DIY prescribing. Homeopathy can cure it, but rarely with one remedy, and with skilled case management.
          Lucky for you, you’re in a city with at least one excellent vet homeopath who can help you. Look up my friend and colleague Dr. Steve Blake. Your pup will be on the road to cure in no time.
          Thanks for stopping by today. And do let me know if there’s any talk of canine influenza in your local news. Wildly contagious in Chicago, so if it were there in San Diego, I think you’d be hearing about it, too.

  14. Lori on May 11, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Nevermind:) I figured it out from you previous article.
    thanks so much 🙂

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      You’re welcome, Lori. Does it seem like the Chicago new cases are slowing down now?

      • Lori on May 12, 2015 at 7:00 am

        Yes. Our groomer has had no incidences and she has several
        Vet clients that are bringing in their own pets. I had canceled our grooming session last month out of fear but have rescheduled because our doodle is looking scruffy 🙂 I will try the phosphorus 30c as a preventive. To clarify, do I only need to give one dose or do
        I dose every night. Thanks.

  15. Lori on May 11, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Hi. Thanks for this.
    How would I use Phosphorous 30C as a preventative?
    Take care
    Lori in chicago

  16. Dorothy Greenaway on May 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Is Phosphorus 30C safe to use of bitches that have been bred and may be pregnant. I have a girl bred last week and developed symptoms. I would like to treat with Phosphorus 30C if safe. Thanks !

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Completely safe, Dorothy, with all animals and even infant babies. Such is homeopathy, not only phosphorus.

  17. Annette Spanhel on May 10, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I am in Driftwood in the Hill Country and this may be very well what Sadie my 13-yr old dog has. My vet put her in antibiotics and a cough tablet. No improvement and has been a week.
    Based on your prior article it appears Nux Vomica 30c is recommended right ? I can get that at Sprouts on Monday. Thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 11, 2015 at 4:01 am

      Oh! Forgot to update that article. Doing so now: phosphorus 30C is the remedy. With the drugs in the way, I’d also buy Nux vomica 30C, as it may be needed if phos doesn’t bring about a cure.

      • Annette Spanhel on May 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        Thank you very much!!

      • emma Holmes on April 1, 2021 at 4:50 pm

        Hi, is it safe if s dog has been on antibiotics.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on April 1, 2021 at 11:33 pm

          Oh, I do love questions like this! What’s safe: antibiotics that wipe out gut flora and immune systems or ultra diluted homeopathic medicines that don’t kill anything, ever, and merely help the patient mount a more effective response to their illness?

  18. Marg Pedroza on May 10, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Dr. Falconer, Thank you for this information. Is Phosphorus 30C commonly available in stores? Thank you, Marg

    • Rebecca on May 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Marg, you can get homeopathic remedies at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Vitamin Shoppe if any of those are near you. Even some grocery stores carry them now.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Yes, indeed. I’ve even seen remedies in some HEB’s. Natural Grocer is another great source, and phos is a very common remedy.

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