Flu season is for the dogs, too - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Flu season is for the dogs, too

(Toledo News Now) -

The flu has been making headlines for weeks, causing people across the country to become very ill and in some cases die. But there's another flu strain going around that dog owners need to look out for.

Cough, nasal discharge, lack of energy and appetite are all symptoms of the flu – not just in humans, but in dogs as well.

Canine influenza was first discovered in Florida in 2003. It has spread to 39 states, including Ohio. While there have been no reported cases in northwest Ohio this year, dogs could still be at risk.

There are three ways a dog can come down with the flu:

1)    Dog-to-dog contact (licking, etc)

2)    Airborne virus from coughing or sneezing dog

3)    Contaminated surface, such as a shared toy or a person who was petting a sick dog

The virus is dog-specific, so a human won't get sick from a dog or vice versa.

There is a vaccine available for dogs, and some vets highly recommend it.

"We vaccinate them, then in 2-4 weeks, we vaccinate them again," said Dr. Jen Tate at Sylvania Vet. "And then it's annual thereafter. The vaccine won't keep them from getting influenza, but it can significantly decrease how sick they get."

Dr. Tate suggests asking your veterinarian if the vaccine is right for your dog.

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