TAMPA, Fla. – Canine flu has recently been confirmed by officials in Florida and Georgia and may have spread to other states, so experts at BluePearl Veterinary Partners are offering this list of recommendations to help pet owners keep their dogs safe.
This strain of the canine influenza virus, called H3N2, is highly contagious. The H3N2 virus is the same strain of canine flu that was blamed for sickening more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area in 2015. The flu spreads quickly from dog to dog through particles in the air. Dogs in close contact at areas such as dog parks, dog shows, grooming parlors and kennels may be most at risk.
University of Florida veterinary officials recently confirmed more than a dozen cases of the disease, all stemming from dogs who were at recent dog shows in Deland, Fla., or Perry Ga., or who were exposed to dogs present at those shows.
Doctors at BluePearl, a nationwide provider of emergency and specialty veterinary care, recently treated confirmed cases of canine flu in Chicago and Houston, and they have evaluated possible cases in Atlanta; Louisville, Ky. and Tampa, Fla. BluePearl hospitals observe strict infection control protocols to prevent flu and other diseases from spreading among patients.
Canine flu can make dogs seriously ill so pet owners should take steps to educate themselves about how to prevent it. Symptoms of the flu include sneezing, fever, nasal discharge, decreased appetite and general lethargy. In rare cases, it can lead to pneumonia and difficulty breathing.
“Canine flu is usually not life-threatening, but it is very contagious,” said Dr. Beth Davidow, BluePearl’s Director of Medical Quality. “If you see these symptoms, it is very important to keep your dog away from other dogs and to contact your veterinarian.”
How do you know if your dog has caught the flu and what can you do about it? Please take a look at this tip sheet:
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