A new nemesis has returned to put your dog's life at risk.
- The H3N2 canine flu virus first materialized last spring in Chicago, where it took the lives of several dogs before spreading to nearby states. This particular strain of canine flu originated in Asia and is highly contagious.
- Dr. Matt Fraker of the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center said this particular virus is a rough one and can initially be mistaken for kennel cough.
- Up to eight percent of dogs can die from this virus.
- Pet parents can panic in the face of a deadly flu, but Fraker said that keeping an eye on your dog and restricting time at the dog park or other places where dogs congregate can help your dog avoid the flu.
- Symptoms of H3N2 include fever, lethargy, coughing and nasal discharge.
- If you suspect your dog has this strain of canine flu, arrange with your vet to have the dog examined in your car in the vet center's parking lot. Taking a sick dog into the lobby puts other animals at risk.
- Cats can catch this strain of virus, too. Humans are unaffected by it, but can transmit it, if exposed to H3N2. A vaccine has just been made available for this flu strain.