At least 12 cases of dog flu reported in Florida

By Allen Cone  |  May 31, 2017 at 2:21 PM
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May 31 (UPI) -- At least 12 cases of dog flu have been reported in Florida, the first time the influenza has been confirmed in the state, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced.

The University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed more than a dozen cases of H3N2 canine influenza virus. Seven cases were first reported Tuesday and additional ones confirmed Wednesday.

Dogs testing positive were exposed at dog shows in Perry, Ga., from May 19-21, or Deland, Fla., the following weekend, the school said in a release.

This is the same strain responsible for the 1,000 case of the flu in Chicago in 2015.

The affected dogs are in stable condition and are mainly being treated by veterinarians in central and north Florida, the school said.

There is no evidence that canine influenza virus infects people, the agency said in a release.

"This is a highly contagious virus," the agency said in a release. "Fortunately, the mortality rate is low. Dog owners can have their veterinarians vaccinate their dogs against canine influenza viruses."

Dogs that aren't around kennels are at low risk, the UF school said.

"Coughing dogs produce invisible virus‐containing mists that travel more than 20 feet in the air, facilitating rapid spread of virus over distances," UF said in a fact sheet on the virus. "This type of virus transmission contributes to a rapid increase in coughing dogs in a kennel situation."

Owners can kill the virus by handwashing with soap and water, normal laundering, and washing bowls and toys with soap and water.

Symptoms include fever, decreased appetite and lethargy during the first few days of illness. Although most dogs recover at home without any complications, some require hospitalization.

Dog owners suspecting a case of dog flu should call their veterinarian before going to the clinic to reduce the chances of spreading the virus to other animals at the clinic.

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