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Pet owners have new reason to be concerned about a potentially deadly canine flu that has already sickened thousands of dogs in the Midwest, killing at least eight. Now, veterinarians who spoke with NBC News warn other parts of the country to be on alert.
They say the dangerous canine H3N2 flu strain could be spreading across the country, especially as dog owners travel more as summer season approaches.
At least two newly-reported cases of canine flu are under investigation; one in the Atlanta area and one near Houston. The illness has also been suspected in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.
Canine influenza starts out similar to kennel cough and spreads through interaction with other dogs. Unlike kennel cough, the symptoms associated with canine influenza or canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) are much more severe, BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa says.
The symptoms include coughing, fever, lethargy and a general lack of appetite. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to prevent dog flu: Keep puppies and immune-compromised dogs away from other dogs. If you suspect your dog has the flu, consult your vet, it is most contagious in the first four days of being infected.
Humans can’t get dog flu but they can spread it, so people should wash their hands after petting a dog.
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