Doctor discusses dog flu safety

Doctor discusses dog flu safety

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A new outbreak of a disease that not many realize exists is posing a serious health risk to dogs.

Dog flu is a respiratory virus that can turn into pneumonia and even cause death.

When dogs get dog flu, they will show signs of a cold: coughing, a runny nose, respiratory problem and  high fever.

There have been no reported cases in Oklahoma, but there have been some in Texas, so veterinarians want pet owners to be aware of its danger.

Dr. Catrina Black at Midtown Animal Hospital said dog flu is transmitted much like the human version, through contact with a sick dog.

She said something as simple as a sick dog barking near another could spread the virus, but added that the dogs don't necessarily have to be around each other at the same time for an infection.

"The dog bowls, the water bowls, the beds, stuff like that. It can be on things," Dr. Black said.

The virus can take multiple days before it shows up but it's not hard to dogs to get and can last for two weeks and can kill 10% of dogs who are exposed. Dr. Black said puppies, sick, and older dogs are more likely to have severe symptoms.

She said while vaccines are available not all dogs will need it.

"If you have a dog that never goes anywhere and stays at home the risk is extremely low, versus a dog that is going places, going to dog shows, going to kennels, and going and traveling and having a high exposure rate then their risks are higher and you should, you need to talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations," Dr. Black said.

Doctor Black said it's a good idea for pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated, especially if they plan on traveling to a state with reported cases of dog flu. She added that they should plan ahead, because it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to get into the dog's system.