I never thought dogs got the flu, but mine did.
It started one morning with Bruiser when he threw up. I cleaned his mess and wondered what he had eaten since eating something they shouldn't is the usual culprit. However, the vomitting didn't stop but got worse. He also was running outside frequently with diahrrea and that's when I knew something was wrong. He wasn't eating or drinking and I had visions of Parvo all over again, so I called the vet and asked if I could bring him in and have him checked out.
Luckily, the vet was very accommodating and I was able to bring him in within the hour. They did a physical checkup and everything seemed okay. They used the rectal thermometer and his temperature was normal. The did the bum smear and that too came out normal. They also did blood tests to check for internal diseases but his blood work came back as normal. So, after $280 the verdict was that he had a virus and was given electrolytes to rehydrate him and a shot of something that stopped the vomitting for 24 hours so he could eat and drink. After that I took him home and let him sleep. By the late afternoon he was drinking water and eating a bit and by the next morning he seemed almost back to his old self again.
So life went on and at about 10:00 at night I settled in to watch a movie and, as usual, started dozing off. That's when Rocki woke me, frantically pawing on the blanket, and ran to the door. I dragged myself up and let him outside where he promptly began throwing up. Oh no...Rocki caught the same thing that Bruiser had.
To make a long story short, I was running to the door with him every 10 or 15 minutes until 2:30 in the morning while he threw up and had bouts of diahrrea. I finally fell asleep on the couch at 3:00 a.m. and at 5:00 we began the process again. Finally, it appeared that Rocki had nothing left inside him and curled up to sleep. The vet had given me two extra anti-vomitting pills for Bruiser and I didn't have to use them, so I got one down Rocki's throat and coerced him into having a bit of water. That's the one thing about Rocki - he is the most obedient little guy I've ever seen. His greatest fear is that one of us is cross with him for some reason, so when I tapped on his water dish and kept telling him to "come", he did and drank. Once he started drinking, it's almost like he couldn't stop he was so dehydrated and drank a good bit of water. Then I settled him down and he had a good long nap.
The only real difference in behavior between this flu and Parvo was that this time, the boys were not listless and without energy like Rocki was with Parvo. Although they weren't running amok like they usually do, they still trotted to the door or from room to room looking for the perfect place to nap. With Parvo, they don't have the energy to move. And that's the big difference that I noticed. However, if I had to do it again, I would still have taken Bruiser to the vet to have this checked out.
Although I was prepared to run Rocki to the vet that day, he seemed to be getting better and by late afternoon was drinking on his own and sniffing at his food dish. By supper he was eating little bits and pieces and holding it down. By the next morning he was racing around and eating like he'd never seen food before. Neither he nor Bruiser threw up again nor did they have diarrhea. Both are back to normal after about a 24 hour bout of the flu.
Of course, the question became where did these two little house dogs pick up a virus? Well, two days prior to Bruiser falling ill, we had them at a new groomer where there were other dogs and a doggie day care. They were in holding cages, on a groomer's table, and walking around on the floors. So that's where they caught it. But, obviously, there's nothing you can do about it because they have to be groomed and you absolutely cannot monitor every dog they come in contact with, so I guess flus for dogs are just a fact of life.