Health Care

Pet owners warned of dog flu

Pet owners warned of dog flu”

Your furry friends could be coming down with something risky.

As Bay Area residents continue to grapple with one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, their four-legged counterparts are facing a medical crisis of their own: canine influenza.

Doctor Kathleen Spencer has noticed something at the Patton Veterinary Hospital in Red Lion this month.

"Dog flu and people flu are not related, it's not zoonotic, meaning dogs can't pass the flu to their owners and people can't pass the flu to their dogs", Dr. Malone explained. There can even be discharge from the nose and eyes.

Furthermore, a flu outbreak that occurred in 2016, in IN, confirmed that dog flu can also affect cats. There are two different types: H3N2 and H3N8, which Cornell says is rare. However, some dogs may develop secondary bacterial infections which may lead to more severe illness and pneumonia.

While there is no evidence of canine influenza passing to humans, the CDC monitors the virus in case of future mutations that would allow it to infect people. In the past 45 days, more than 100 dogs have tested positive for the virus, including 72 in California alone.

"Wash your hands when you get home", Spencer said. The good news, though, is the flu doesn't spread between species, so you don't have to worry about giving the flu to your pup or catching it from them.

It's important to recognize signs of the flu as soon as possible, because many people just write the symptoms off as a simple cold and assume their dog will get better, Dumont said. The series of two shots costs around $50.

"It decreases the infectiousness of the disease so meaning they won't be as sick if they have the virus", Spencer said. Dog owners are encouraged to call ahead and ask about the vaccine's availability at their vet clinic; some clinics may not have the vaccine in stock because the virus is new to the area.

Love wants to protect her dog Percy, a terrier mix.

With the flu going around, some people are now anxious about their pets getting sick.

Veterinarians say don't take your dogs to daycare, the kennel, or the dog park if they're not vaccinated.

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