Dog Flu Is Spreading: Here's What You Need to Know

dog flu

If you have a dog, you need to read this. A contagious, respiratory virus that is responsible for eight dog deaths has been seems to be spreading among the canine community, with thousands of pups contracting the illness. Known as dog flu, or H3N2, the virus started in the Midwest and seems to be spreading across the country. 

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Cases have been reported from New York to California and in many states in between. While this flu can be fatal, thankfully, most dogs recover. If you're a pet owner, here's what you need to know:

What are the symptoms:

Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says keep an eye out for fever, cough, nasal discharge, lethargy, and lack of appetite. If you have any concerns, call your veterinarian.

How it spreads: 

Poulsen says dogs spread the virus through direct contact or nose-to-nose. Keeping dogs on a tight leash and avoiding areas where lots of dogs live or play is a good idea. For pooches with a compromised immune system, it's recommended that they avoid all contact with other dogs.

More from The Stir: 5 Tips for Getting That Pet Smell Out of Your House 

How can you protect your pet:

Because it's a virus, there isn't a specific treatment for the condition, but veterinarians treat it by advising that pet owners to have dogs drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, and take antibiotics for any other illnesses they may have as a result of the flu. 

Can humans get it?

While humans cannot contract the dog flu, pet owners are advised to wash their hands frequently because they can spread the virus among dogs. 

If you have a pet, are you concerned about the dog flu?

dog flu facts

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