Veterinarians across Los Angeles County are staying vigilant and warning dog parents to take precautions against an outbreak of the H3N2 flu strain. At this time, the flu is contained to 34 infected dogs saved last month by a San Fernando Valley rescue group that brings dogs from China to the United States. According to Los Angeles Animal Services, the sick dogs have been quarantined, and eight others have been exposed.
Dog Flu: New Strain of Canine Influenza Virus Detected in 2 More States, Veterinarians Say
The H3N2 strain was first reported in Chicago in 2015. So far there have been no reports of the virus outside LA County, and Jeremy Prupas, chief veterinarian for the city of LA, states that no other vets in the area have reported sick dogs.
“Dog Flu: What You Need to Know About the Current Outbreak” now on News for a Dog Day Afternoon – http://bit.ly/1Lj32FP
H3N2 is highly contagious, especially in dogs that are very young, very old, or those with compromised immune systems. It spreads quickly, likely before the animal even shows signs of illness. There is no evidence that the virus is infectious to humans.
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Symptoms include persistent, antibiotic-resistant coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and fever. Rare worst-case scenarios include pneumonia and death, Dr. Prupas told LA Weekly.
The virus is spread via coughing, barking and sneezing, as well as contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) according to LA Animal Services. They ask that owners who notice any kind of respiratory symptoms in their pets contact their veterinarian and avoid dog parks, canine daycare centers, and any other places where dogs congregate.
Additional recommendations include:
- Vaccinating pets that frequently interact with other dogs against canine Flu
- Preventing sick pets from coming in contact with others or sharing bowls, leashes, toys or other supplies
- Washing hands after touching your pet
- Reporting any suspected cases of influenza in dogs or cats to LA County Public Health