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Vets Recommend Vaccination For Pets As Dog Flu Spreads Across US

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With dog flu continuously spreading across the United States, vets advise pet owners to keep away their dogs from other animals.

Pet care experts also recommend vaccination of non-infected dogs.

Canine Influenza Outbreak In 46 States

Experts confirm that there is an outbreak of canine influenza or dog flu in 46 states. A pet hospital in San Francisco reported 50 cases in just two weeks, concerning vets and pet owners.

While humans cannot catch canine influenza, this highly-contagious disease is dangerous for dogs and can lead to the death of infected canines. If not treated immediately, the mortality rate is 10 percent.

A dog is most likely to catch the flu from other dogs in public places like parks, grooming clinics, pet daycare, and boarding facilities. Coughing, barking, and sneezing can cause transmission of the virus contained in droplets or aerosols of respiratory secretions.

"Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection," states the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Many pet daycares and kennels in the South Bay of California have now temporarily shut down to prevent the virus from spreading.

Symptoms And Transmission Of Canine Flu

Canine influenza HN32 was first diagnosed in greyhounds in 2004 and has symptoms similar to human flu. Pet owners reported that most common dog flu symptoms are fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, runny nose, coughing, and vomiting that can last for weeks.

Upon noticing these symptoms, pet owners should have the dog checked at a local clinic to determine if it is canine flu or other illness. However, the manifestation of dog flu symptoms is a case-to-case basis.

Some dogs get severely ill upon infection. Others do not exhibit any of the symptoms in the first few days of being infected but can still be spreading the virus.

Vets said infected dogs are getting very ill and have recommended vaccination of non-infected dogs. Vaccine for dog flu virus will not work if the dog is already coughing. Sick dogs should receive medication and supportive health care from vets and pet hospitals.

The dog flu is now endemic in several states Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California. Two cases of dog flu were also reported in southwestern Ontario, Canada.

Flu Season For Humans

Human influenza is widespread in every state and could get worse, according to public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated the 2017-2018 flu season as moderately severe, although, hospitalization and deaths are much lower compared to the 2014-2015 season.

An estimated 12,000 Americans die of flu during mild years while a high 56,000 deaths are recorded in moderately severe seasons.

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