GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) — There’s a new virus spreading upstate, but it’s not hurting you, it’s hurting your dog. This is called canine flu or dog flu. Some pet facilities have already sent notifications to pet owners and customers.
“I had no idea. I had no idea until they sent him,” dog owner Carli Frady said.
Many other dog owners Fox Carolina spoke to on Thursday, Frady, had never heard of canine flu. She got a little alarmed when her vet sent out an outbreak notice
“They wanted to make sure we were up to date on all vaccines to make sure our pets didn’t have any symptoms,” she said.
Dr Daniel Randall of Foothills Veterinary Hospital says you’ve probably never heard of the virus – because it’s rare.
“It tends to pop up sporadically,” he said.
Dr. Randall has never heard of an upstate outbreak before. But recently, several dogs at a pet store in Spartanburg coughed.
“A pretty nasty cough, sneezing, some of them will have a fever. It gets a lot of press because it’s very contagious,” Dr. Randall said.
He says the number of dogs coming in with a cough was a sign there was an outbreak.
“We know that when a large number of dogs are in confined airspace, it spreads very quickly,” he said.
The highly contagious virus spreads from dog to dog through nose-to-nose contact and is airborne.
“In a kennel, the number of dogs in the population that will get sick once it’s introduced is usually between 80% and 100% of the dogs,” he said.
Fortunately, Dr. Randell says most dogs feel better after just a few days and there is a way to avoid it.
« Bordetella, parainfluenza and influenza [vaccines] therefore, it is avoidable. You know, we have good tools to try to immunize these dogs,” he said.
Frady’s dog is up to date on vaccines, but she says knowing the virus is out there, she’ll be very careful.
“I’m not going to take any chances taking him to a new place where I don’t really know dogs,” Frady said.
Dr. Randall says they don’t have an exact idea of the number of cases upstate. This is because test results can be expensive and take days to be returned. But dog flu is mostly mild and can be cured with basic medication.
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