Not just for humans: Dog flu cases on the rise

Published: Jan. 24, 2018 at 7:08 AM CST
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At least 13 states have reported outbreaks of the dog flu this season.

Employees at Avondale Pet Hospital in Des Moines say they have not reported canine flu cases yet in 2018, but they anticipate a high number of cases in coming months.

Mandy Hollander, an associate veterinarian at Avondale, said canine flu is highly contagious. Though there is no evidence people can catch canine influenza, they can pass it along to their dogs.

"If the flu virus gets on a person's clothing, they could theoretically take that home and pass that on to their pet,” Hollander said.

Hollander said dogs that spend a lot of time with other dogs at doggy day cares or in boarding situations are at a higher risk of catching the flu.

“We might see a higher rate of complications with that flu or it’s a little more virulent so it's getting passed around quickly within facilities that house a lot of dogs,” Hollander said.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and sneezing.

"It's just like the human flu where, unfortunately, we have some seasons where it might be worse than others,” Hollander said.

Hollander said the mortality rate for canine flu is low and that flu shots for dogs are available.

If a dog shows flu symptoms, Hollander said the best thing to do is call a vet, describe those symptoms and schedule an appointment.

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