Last year, dog flu has spread across the United States, affecting several dogs in over a dozen states –mostly in the Midwest. Authorities are now warning dog owners about the possible spread of this dog flu in the Northwest.
Officials in Washington and Montana are concerned the H3N2 strain of dog flu has spread in their states. Authorities in Seattle are currently investigating the matter after several dogs became sick at a local kennel.
“There’s a big blast that went out to all the veterinarians in this area so we are aware,” says Dr. Beth Davidow of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in North Seattle. “Public health wanted everybody to know, because if that is influenza, it’s quite contagious and we don’t want to have outbreaks like we are seeing in Chicago and Georgia, if we can avoid it.”
According to King County Public Health, a suspected outbreak at the Holiday Kennels in Kent may have affected 80 to 90 dogs in December. Many of the dogs who boarded at the kennel developed flu-like symptoms including runny noses and coughs.
“Respiratory viruses are very contagious. We see kennel cough more often, which is much more common, and influenza looks a lot in some cases like kennel cough,” says Dr. Davidow.
Initially, kennel cough was suspected until health officials learned that one dog who stayed at the kennel traveled to Georgia with his owners and had interaction with two other dogs that tested positive for H3N2. Health officials say the test results are still pending for the sick dogs.
Humans cannot contract H3N2, but we can pass it along to other dogs.
“It’s airborne, so if a dog coughs on you, coughs on your hands, you pet another dog you, could give it to another dog,” says Dr. Davidow.
Dog owners say they wish it was easier to know which dog has been where, when and with whom.
“We have a lot of dogs that come here. They go to daycare a couple times a day, maybe they’ve been boarded recently over the holidays and stuff, so it’d be kind of nice to know,” says Austin Pederson, owner of Dogwood Play Park.
Officials recommend that dog owners observe their dogs before taking them to public places. If your dog comes down with a cough, it is recommended not to take them to the dog park and doggy daycare. Have your dog checked out by a veterinarian, but call ahead so they can set up isolation just in case.
Source: FOX 35 Orlando