RED LION, Pa. — Humans are not the only ones getting sick right now. Your furry friends could be coming down with something dangerous.
Veterinarians are concerned about the dog flu, also known as canine influenza, and it’s highly contagious.
Dr. Kathleen Spencer has noticed something at the Patton Veterinary Hospital in Red Lion this month.
“Recently, we’ve had several respiratory cases,” Spencer said.
The dog flu is suspected in two cases last week.
“Some symptoms of the dog flu are coughing especially, decreased energy, fever, which would be difficult for you to identify at home, but a fever just makes your dog feel very sick,” Spencer said. “They’re low energy. Their appetite may not be good. They may have mucus coming out of their noses and eyes.”
Two strains of the dog flu are making their way through Pennsylvania.
“H3N8 has been around for a while,” Spencer said. “H3N2 is more serious for dogs.”
Canine influenza is not contagious to humans. Your dog can’t catch your flu, but you can infect your dog if the dog flu virus is on your clothes.
“Wash your hands when you get home,” Spencer said. “You would want to wash your clothing before your dog comes into contact with you.”
Spencer encourages you to make sure your pup gets the dog flu vaccine. The series of two shots costs around $50.
“It decreases the infectiousness of the disease, so meaning they won’t be as sick if they have the virus,” Spencer said.
“I have my own dog vaccinated for canine flu,” Carley Love said.
Love wants to protect her dog Percy, a terrier mix.
“My biggest fear would be he would actually get sick and not just have the flu but have some secondary problem and get even more sick,” Love said.
“The flu can lead to very serious problems like pneumonia,” Spencer said.
Veterinarians say don’t take your dogs to day care, the kennel, or the dog park if they’re not vaccinated.