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Area animal hospital takes proactive approach to dog influenza

Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 18:27:04-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — For the past 10 years, reported cases of dog influenza have increased across the U.S.

“It is a pretty severe form of the flu that we're seeing in our dogs,” Dr. Nicholas Bauer with Hawthorne Animal Hospital said.

About the dog flu

Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, lethargy, and runny nose.

“All the normal things you'd see in normal flu but it's happening in our dogs,” Bauer said. 

There are two types of strains: H3N8 and H3N2. Bauer said the H3N2 has been more common recently.

Dog influenza is contagious. Bauer said roughly five percent of dogs that have it end up dying.

“Our dogs have no immunity to it right now,” Bauer said. 

Doctors say this flu strain is more prone to dogs who spend much of their time with other dogs. 

“The main types of dogs who would get this are those who would frequent you know social areas,” Bauer said. “Dog parks, also if they go for daycare or get boarded at a kennel facility, all those can get passed pretty easily.”

Dog flu vaccine

There hasn’t been any reported cases in the greater Kansas City area. Vets at Hawthorne Animal Hospital are hoping to keep it that way with a new protocol.

“We are starting to require the flu vaccine for any of our daycare or boarding or grooming patients,” Bauer said. 

With this protocol, if an outbreak does happen, doctors say they’ll be prepared. 

“What we're hoping to achieve is what we call heard immunity so vaccinating our animals here in the Kansas City area will help prevent an outbreak being really severe,” Bauer said. “If we have animals who are already vaccinated and protected from the flu vaccine, if there's an outbreak here it's not going to be as bad and pass through as many animals so we'll already have some dogs who will be immune to it.”

The dog flu cannot spread to humans.

If you feel your pet has these symptoms and they continue to get worse, call your veterinarian.