On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that a highly contagious dog flu has been confirmed in the state. The agency announced that there have been seven confirmed cases of the dog flu, H3N2, in Florida and six additional cases are pending confirmation.
Though the H3N2 virus has been circulating across the nation since 2015, this is the first time that the illness has been confirmed in the state of Florida – experts warn that the virus is extremely contagious, however, the mortality rate is low and it is not known to infect people.
Dogs who exhibit signs of sneezing, coughing, lethargy, fever, or a decreased appetite may have contracted the virus – owners who believe that their pet may be sick with the dog flu should contact their veterinarian before making a visit to a veterinary hospital in order to avoid spreading the illness to other dogs.
On Wednesday, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine issued a release about the recent canine influenza outbreak:
UF College of Veterinary Medicine officials have confirmed more than one dozen cases of canine influenza A virus, a.k.a. “dog flu.” The first twelve dogs tested have been confirmed with the strain of influenza A known as H3N2 CIV. Dogs testing positive for the H3N2 strain were either at the Perry, Georgia dog show May 19-21 or the Deland, Florida dog show the following weekend, or were exposed to dogs who were present at these shows. This is the same strain responsible for the severe outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago in 2015. Veterinarians in central and north Florida are treating many dogs that are suspected to have dog flu.
Pet owners should be aware that dogs taken to public areas, such as dog parks or dog daycare centers, may be at a higher risk of contracting the illness. Dogs can be vaccinated against the dog flu virus at a veterinary hospital.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, call 1-800-HELP-FLA or visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
(Images via Pixabay Free Images)
Watch a heartwarming video, a Poem To My Foster Dog, here.
Interested in receiving more inspiring animal stories? Please subscribe! Don’t forget to tune in to watch Shelter Me’s latest episodes here.