Veterinarians Warning Pet Owners In Midwest Over Canine Flu Outbreak That’s Sickened Hundreds Of Dogs

While we humans dread the arrival of flu season every year, we aren’t the only ones who can get sick by coming into close contact with the fellow members of our species. Veterinarians in the Midwest are warning pet owners over a recent canine flu outbreak, telling them to keep sick pooches away from clinic waiting rooms filled with their furry brethren.

At least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana have been sickened by the H3N2 strain of the flu virus, reports the Associated Press, though it’s not clear yet how effective current vaccines are against this particular strain.

Dogs can develop a persistent cough, runny nose and fever, and although the virus can’t jump to humans, cats could fall ill from it as well. A small percentage of pups will develop more severe symptoms, experts say, with some deaths associated to the H3N2 infection.

Clinical assistant professor Keith Poulsen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine advises pet owners with sick dogs to make arrangements with their vet to schedule a test outside the veterinary clinic, to cut down on the risk of infecting other dogs.

As such, keeping your sick pets away from anywhere they’d sniff, lick or otherwise interact with their friends is a good idea.

“It’s really no different if you’re talking about dogs or toddlers, if you think they’re sick, don’t bring them to day care,” Poulsen said.

Canine flu outbreak sickens hundreds of dogs in Midwest [Associated Press]