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Concerns for dog flu in Mississippi

This maybe one of the most active flu seasons, which is not only affecting humans but dogs as well.

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 6:38 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - This maybe one of the most active flu seasons in the U.S., which is not only affecting humans but dogs as well.

Veterinarian Shelley Key-Russell at Animal Care Center of Tupelo says the dog flu can be serious.

“It can be deadly, there have been a few cases of dogs that were not able to recover,” said Russell.

Russell says the dangerous strand of flu is called H3N8, which is transferred through respiratory droplets, just like the flu in humans.

Russell says there are a few ways to know if your furry four legged friend has the flu.

“If you notice your dog has any respiratory signs, coughing, sneezing, running nose and unable to eat," Russell said. "We need to test them.”

Russell said to help prevent your dog from getting the flu, be cautious of confined areas such as dog parks and day-cares.

If your dog travels often, she urges you to get your canine the flu shot.

This is because H3N8 hasn’t been confirmed in our area but it has in others.

Russell is concerned because she believes it’s only a matter of time before it comes to the area.

“My biggest fear is when it does spread to this area and we don’t catch it quick enough,” Russell added. “It goes like a rapid fire and tons of dogs get sick.”

Russell said humans are not completely in the clear from H3N8.

“I know several people remember the bird flu and how it affected dogs several years ago,” explained Russell. “This could happen easily with the dog flu and end up in humans in a matter of time.”

Just as a precaution experts say if your dog does have flu like symptoms try to avoid face to face contact.

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