Canine influenza spikes in Texas

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 8:57am

It's flu season and that means shots for everyone, including man's best friend. Veterinarians across the country are reporting a spike in canine influenza, which is fatal in about 10% of cases. Dr. Valri E. Brown of the Cat & Dog Clinic says symptoms include coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge. That's sometimes accompanied by a high fever, which can ultimately lead to death.

Canine influenza was first discovered at a greyhound racetrack in Florida in January 2004, where it killed almost 35% of the animals infected. Since then, it's traveled to 38 states. It's transferred from dog-to-dog contact, much like the human flu. A suspected outbreak in Shreveport was likely due to the relocation of dogs from the southern parts of Louisiana to that Ark-La-Tex, Dr. Brown said.

The vaccination for canine influenza includes two shots, three weeks apart. Dr. Brown said that's why people need to be sure to schedule the vaccines in advance...before they start traveling for the holidays.

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