Dog Flu on the Rise in Pennsylvania

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Dog can get the flu, too, and an outbreak of canine influenza is on the rise. (Photo – Baltimore Humane Society)

Sections of southern and central Pennsylvania are seeing more and more cases of canine influenza. Dr Jennifer Fry of Banfield Pet Hospital in Pottsfield treated a suspected case two weeks ago. First seen in horses back in 2005 has now jumped to dogs. Sneezing, runny nose, and a mild fever are symptoms you should be aware of.

“We are definitely seeing cases of it,” Fry said. “I had a six-week old puppy that just lay on the exam table, which is not normal. It’s similar to our flu. You just don’t feel well at all.”

Dogs who visit dog parks, grooming salons, and boarding kennels are at higher risk than dogs who are homebodies. Not all dogs show symptoms but could unknowingly infect other dogs.

“It’s airborne, and can also be transmitted through objects that are not properly sanitized,” Fry said. “If you’re going to be going to playgroups or dog parks, it’s a wise idea to get the vaccinations.” Don’t confuse canine flu for kennel cough, which is a less serious ailment.

Dr Fry stated that cats living in the same home as a dog with the flu could be at risk.

A vaccination for canine influenza requires two injections along with annual boosters. “Vaccines are for healthy pets,” Dr Fry said. “A sick pet would not be vaccinated,” but would instead receive a course of treatment.