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Outbreak of a Highly Contagious Dog Flu Has Pet Owners Concerned

An outbreak of the dog flu that has affected hundreds of dogs across the country over the last 2 years has hit Florida for the first time.

This highly contagious virus has recently infected at least 12 dogs in the state after attending 2 dog shows or being exposed to animals from the event, health officials said.

The disease appears to have stemmed from a dog show in Perry, GA. and another in Deland, FL, both of which took place late last month.

All dogs are being treated and are in stable condition. This is the first time this canine influenza has been found in the state.

Veterinary Practice News

The virus strain isn't usually fatal, and is not known to be transferable to humans, but can spread rapidly and cause debilitating complications.

In 2015 there was an outbreak of the dog flu in Chicago where hundreds of illnesses were reported. At least 6 cases were fatal, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The illness continued to affect New Jersey, Alabama, California, Texas, New York, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana according to Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center.

"We don't want people to panic because typically, from what we know, it's usually mild, although it can progress and can lead to other infections and be serious. We want to catch these things as early as possible," said Michael San Filippo, a spokesperon for the AVMA.

Animal Hospital of Montgomery

What are the signs?

Canine influenza, is a respiratory disease that spreads quickly among dogs. Symptoms are similar to what humans experience when they have the flu. Coughing, runny nose and fever are common affects of this illness. However, some dogs can suffer from life-threatening pneumonia.

Dogs Naturally Magazine

How can dog flu be prevented?

Pet owners can talk to their vet about vaccinations for the virus. Dogs are at the highest risk of contracting the virus at animal shelters, boarding kennels, grooming salons, doggy daycares, dog parks and other areas when dogs are in close quarters.