It has been one of the worse flu seasons in 10 years for us humans; and now the epidemic is spreading within the dog community as well...
According to abcnews.com, a rare canine flu outbreak has occurred in the midwest United States - specifically Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana - and has already affected over 1,000 dogs, 5 of which have died.
"We have not seen it this bad in this area yet; but remember, dogs are as mobile as people are nowadays," said Dr. Donna Alexander of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.
Dr. Alexander and other professionals in the field of canine health care are reminding people that much like humans, proper measures of sanitation and vaccination should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Similarly to us two legged folk, the dog flu virus "can be caught from sneezes and coughs, nose-to-nose contact or from infected surfaces." (via abcnews.com). Symptoms are also similar to human symptoms - fever, cough and fatigue are common.
Some dog parks in the Chicago area are even posting warning signs for dog owners who have their dog in areas where lots other dogs are present, until the virus has run it's course.
And despite the canine flu being fairly rare in the pet community, dog owners are still encouraged to have their pups receive flu shots as a precaution - just keep in mind it can take 28-32 days for the vaccine to take effect.
Fortunately, for as widespread as the canine flu has been in the Midwest, it is rarely fatal.
But if you're worried about your pup, bring them to your local vet to be safe.
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