The same canine flu that infected thousands of dogs in more than 30 states in 2015 recently hit Florida-and now it's picking up momentum and spreading across the country.
Last week more than twelve dogs were treated for the highly contagious H3N2-strain of the dog flu in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The sick dogs may have come in contact with the disease at the recent dog shows in Perry, Georgia, and DeLand, Florida. State officials are tracking the outbreak, which has now spread to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas this week, WUSA reports.
Though it's usually not fatal, the disease can cause sneezing, running nose, and coughing, and dogs may experience a fever, decreased appetite, and tiredness, according to Dr. Cynda Crawford from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. In some instances, dogs can develop life-threatening pneumonia and require hospitalization.
Dr. Cynda Crawford from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine is answering questions about the more than one dozen cases of confirmed dog flu in central and north Florida.Posted by UF Health on Thursday, June 1, 2017
"There's always that concern that another large outcome could happen again," Michael San Filippo, an American Veterinary Medical Association spokesperson told Time. "We don't want people to panic because typically, from what we know, it's usually mild, although it can progress and can lead to other infections and be serious. We want to catch these things as early as possible." Six of the 1,000 cases reported in Illinois where the outbreak began in 2015 were fatal.
In addition to vaccinating your dog, you can protect your pooch by keeping them away from popular pet areas like animal shelters, boarding kennels, grooming shops, and dog parks. The virus can survive on clothing and hands for 8-24 hours, so it's important for dog owners to wash their hands, according to UF Health. The disease can be spread to cats as well, so infected dogs should be kept away from other animals for four weeks. If you think your dog may be sick, you should visit your vet and call them before visiting their office.
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