A highly contagious strain of dog flu known as H3N2 has arrived in Texas.
The sick dog is in Beach City, near Houston, and came to Texas from Chicago.
It has the same kind of flu that has already sickened more than a thousand dogs in the Midwest, and some of them have even died. The new development concerns veterinarians at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“It does seem to be very contagious dog-to-dog, much like human flu is pretty contagious person-to-person,” said Dr. Audrey Cook at Texas A&M. That makes dog flu especially worrisome at dog park, day-cares and boarding facilities.
H3N2 appears to have come from Asia. It surfaced in the U.S. in Chicago and has since spread to Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and now Texas. In addition to being highly contagious, the current vaccine for dog flu may not be effective against H3N2.
“Dogs who were vaccinated for the earlier strain probably don’t have any protection against this new one,” said Dr. Cook. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the major symptoms are:
Most healthy dogs recover from H3N2 with the help of antibiotics and fluids.
As with human flu, the biggest concern is for older dogs and dogs with other health issues.
The CDC says people are not at risk from the H3N2 virus.
There is no word on when a more effective dog flu vaccine might be available.
In the meantime, dog owners should talk to their veterinarian about any concerns and be on the lookout for possible symptoms.
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