More than 20 cases of an “extremely contagious” flu, named H3N2, have been reported in several states in the southeast, prompting clinics to stock much more dog flu vaccine than typical for this time of year.
According to WSB-TV Atlanta, H3N2 has been traced back to dogs brought from outside Georgia to Houston County a month ago.
Dogs with this particular flu can spread the virus from up to 20 feet away, just by sneezing, according to Cobb County veterinarian Cary Mackey.
“It can easily be transferred from one city to another, simply because of a plane flight or a car ride,” Mackey told WSB.
Cases of the flu have also been reported in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee, WSPA reports.
There is no evidence that the flu can be transmitted to people, but the dog flu vaccine and a 21-day quarantine are recommended to any animal that catches H3N2, according to ABC.
“It may not offer full protection, but if the dog gets infected, it should help prevent severe symptoms of the flu in your pets,” Mackey said of the vaccine. “[H3N2 is] rarely fatal, but unfortunately there have been a few patients that have passed away due to the flu and side effects of being infected.”
If your dog begins showing signs of the flu, such as sneezing and runny mucous, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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