Here’s What Pet Owners Should Know About the Latest Dog Flu Outbreak in the U.S.
The recent outbreak of canine influenza in the southeast U.S. has many owners checking their pets for dog flu symptoms.
A dozen dogs in Florida tested positive for H3N2 canine influenza after attending dog shows in Georgia during late May. On Monday, health officials in Tennessee confirmed two more cases of the dog flu.
“The virus originated in China most likely in late 2005 or early 2006,” Colin Parrish, a professor of virology at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, told Healthline. “From there it spread to Korea and to Thailand in the next few years. It was introduced into the USA from Korea in 2015, most likely through the importation of rescued dogs from Korea.”
Which dog flu symptoms should I monitor?
Common canine influenza symptoms include coughing, sneezing and runny noses. Medical experts say that the illness lasts about two weeks. However, roughly 10 percent of dogs die from the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many veterinarians offer testing to confirm the virus infection in dogs.
Although dogs can spread the virus to cats, humans appear to be immune from it.
How can I prevent and treat canine influenza?
Protect your pets by keeping them away from infected dogs. Public places where pets are in close quarters — such as animal shelters and dog parks — pose the biggest risk for them to catch the dog flu.
The best way to prevent the H3N2 canine influenza might be the vaccination. Medical experts say that dog owners — especially in Florida — should speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
“Now is the time for veterinarians and dog owners to really consider getting their dogs vaccinated as soon as possible to provide protection against infection by this virus or the disease this virus causes,” Dr. Cynda Crawford, a veterinarian with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, told the Naples Daily News. “It is never too late to start. I think we need to start in this state now.”
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