Dog flu cases are on the rise across the nation.
Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses, according to the CDC. Symptoms of this affliction include a cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and a reduced appetite.
There are two different influenza dog flu virus strains: the H3N8 and the H3N2.
While the dog flu is typically not fatal, it is highly infectious. Severe illnesses associated with the virus are accompanied by an onset of pneumonia.
“They’re sniffing each other, they have close contact, they may be licking each other, and so it’s very easy for the germs to be spread that way,” said Lori Teller, a veterinary medicine specialist at Texas A&M University, according to Texas Public Radio.
An outbreak at the Operation Kindness shelter in Carrollton even forced its operators to suspend dog adoptions and dog intake, with 86% of its roughly 150 dogs being afflicted with the virus by mid-November. Thankfully, it resumed operations on December 12 once the outbreak cleared.
Recent data has shown the most recent outbreaks occurring in California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Carolina, New Jersey, and New York.
Dallas Animal Services (DAS) confirmed that respiratory illnesses just like the dog flu have been spreading across the Dallas area in a tweet on January 4.
DAS offered tips to dog owners, advising them to practice “doggy distancing” by keeping pets away from public areas and out of contact with other animals.
“It is important to keep them quiet and rested, hydrated and isolated so that they’re not spreading it to other dogs and developing secondary infections from bacteria they pick up, or pneumonia,” said Marlo Clingman, a spokesperson for the city of Dallas.
Vaccination for canine influenza is available at a low cost. Owners are advised to speak with veterinarians to discuss options for their pets.