NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a highly contagious strain of dog flu and it’s making its rounds in across the country, and there have even been a few cases reported in Tennessee.
Now there’s a word of warning Monday from veterinarians if you plan on traveling or even boarding your beloved dog over the Christmas holiday.
Rebecca Dolce recently adopted Jasper, a black lab mix from a shelter in Knoxville.
“We’ve only had him about a month now; we are new dog owners,” Dolce said.
He’s only a year old, but making sure he doesn’t get sick is her main priority.
“I’m sure it’s a very serious thing; I would never want my dog to contract it,” Dolce added.
Dolce doesn’t plan on traveling this Christmas, but anytime she hears about an illness affecting animals her ears perk up.
“Dog owners should be cautious and watch for signs of that flu strain, making sure their dog doesn’t have any symptoms, to take it to the vet immediately to get checked out so it doesn’t spread further,” Dolce said.
Veterinarians said a highly contagious strain of dog flu, known as H3N2, is affecting the upper respiratory system of dogs.
“It’s called Canine Influenza Virus, or CIV for short,” said Murphy Road Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Christine Widmann said. “It’s a virus that has been circulating mostly in our Midwest. We have seen it trickle down here to the South.”
According to vets, the dog flu has similar symptoms as kennel cough.
“Unlike kennel cough, there have been some deaths reported with this disease,” Widmann said. “It’s very minimum percentage out of 1,000 reported cases in Chicago about five of those dogs have succumbed to the disease, but it’s those that are immune compromised.”
Symptoms of H3N2 include fever, running nose, cough, and some dogs can get pneumonia.
If you’re planning to travel to the mid-way over the Christmas holiday, vets say be careful where you take your dog.
“Be cautious of dog parks, boarding facilities there, doggie daycare because it’s really that close contact with other canine that this disease seem to spread.”
Vets said the dog flu can spread between dogs, just like the flu does with human to human contact.
To learn more about this strain of dog flu, click here to read more from Cornell University.