DALLAS - A canine flu outbreak that has sickened thousands of dogs has spread to North Texas.
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory has documented two cases of Canine Influenza in North Texas this month bringing the total count to seven statewide.
Catherine McManus, the Veterinarian for the Irving City Animal Shelter, says her staff is on high alert for any symptoms of the H3N2 virus as they head into the busiest months of the year.
"This time of year is pretty overwhelming. We are trying to keep up with spays and neuters, so we can get as many animals adopted as possible because they just keep on coming through the other door," McManus said.
About 80 percent of dogs in contact with the virus will show and develop symptoms. In its mild form, a dog can develop a cough -- and act lethargic for as much as a month. In its worst case, your dog could develop a high fever and even pneumonia.
"So maybe when animals do get sick, just maybe not taking it as so routine as your routine shelter kennel cough, and just being more cautious and cognizant that it could be something more severe," McManus said.
According to McManus, your best bet to protect your pet is to have them vaccinated for this particular thread of the virus. The vaccination is delivered in two shots and can take up to three weeks before your pet is protected from the flu.
"Until we have a good immunity in pets being vaccinated, just like humans getting their flu shots, all these dogs are naive and at great risk," McManus said.
If your dog isn't vaccinated, McManus recommends keeping your dog away from other dogs as much as possible. It's something she says she'll do for own animals.
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