Dog flu worries pet owners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dog flu worries pet owners

October 17, 2005

Albany--Experts say a new strain of dog flu is spreading quickly in the U.S.  Florida, and several other states have already reported cases of the new strain of flu. And because the virus is new in dogs, all breeds are susceptible.

Talk of a new dog flu has some pet owners worried.

"It can be fatal, the same as the influenza virus in people can be fatal," says veterinarian Ira Roth

Roth says clients are already asking plenty of questions about the flu. The virus can be fatal, but Dr. roth says pet owners shouldn't fear.

"I don't think we're anywhere near that stage to where we have a doggy pandemic on our hands," says the doctor.

While dogs can easily pass the flu on to other dogs, they can't pass it to people or other animals. Dr. Roth says the dog flu is similar to kennel cough and there are symptoms you can watch for.

"Runny nose, snotty nose, just a non-productive cough, or horse type tattling when they're barking or coughing," he says.

There are no vaccinations against the virus, but there are several things you can do to prevent your dog from catching the flu.

"Limit dog to dog contact as much as you can. Have a dog on a good plan of nutrition, a good overall health package," he says. Roth says taking these precautions will slow the spread of the virus or any other pet illness.

Researchers believe the dog flu originated in horses, then passed to racing greyhounds, and then to other dogs. So far, no cases of the dog flu have been reported in Georgia.

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