SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) –
As the number of flu cases in humans continues to rise, there is one family member that should not be forgotten, the dog.
Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has reported an uptick in cases of canine influenza, most notably in California, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Dr. Laura Cauthen with Animal Medical Center of Tyler says it’s important to look for symptoms of the canine flu.
“First signs are going to be a fever and cough,” said Cauthen.
Although it’s not often heard of and no cases have been confirmed in East Texas, Cauthen says she has heard of canine flu cases in North and Central Texas.
Also known as, the dog flu, it is highly contagious and it can be spread through barking, sneezing or by sharing the same toy.
“80% of dogs is the current statistic saying dogs that are exposed to it, will get it,” said Cauthen.
Unlike human flu, canine influenza doesn’t follow a seasonal pattern; dogs can get sick and spread the virus year-round.
According to Cauthen, there are some dogs that are at higher risk of being exposed.
“Dogs that are boarding, going to dog parks, that are going to dog shows, that are traveling,” said Cauthen. “So, any dog that is at high risk I do recommend a vaccine.”
Prevention consists of two rounds of shots, and Dr. Cauthen says there is no anti-viral for the dog flu.
“Another preventative is to keep your dog at home, and not take them to areas where there is a high volume of dogs,” said Cauthen.
Although people probably don’t need to worry about catching the canine flu, it can infect cats.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, less than 10% of dogs who become sick with canine influenza die
But dogs that are very young, very old or have underlying health conditions are at an increased risk.