Local veterinarians on guard for dog flu

Local veterinarians on guard for dog flu
Jesse the labrador mix is seen in this photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Area veterinarians are on the lookout for a resurgence of the canine flu, though the Oregon Humane Society said there has been no sign in the region.

At a shelter in Fairfax, Va., one dog died from the dog flu, H3N8, and more than two dozen other dogs got sick, forcing officials to close the center for two weeks and suspend adoptions.

Vets in Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania also have seen cases.

The symptoms of dog flu are similar to the human version, with the dog coughing, sneezing and wheezing.

“It is like a human flu virus,” said Dr. Kris Otteman of the Oregon Humane Society. “Very few animals, historically, have died from this virus but we want to be on the alert.”

Outbreaks tend to be isolated, but experts said to be especially concerned if your dog has been boarded recently.

“So we are not seeing it carried out of one shelter or one boarding facility and onto a public population,” said Otteman. “It is more associated with groups of dogs or shelter or a boarding or closed environment.”

If you’re concerned your dog might have dog flu, a blood test from your vet will confirm whether your dog has the flu and there is also a vaccine.