A recent strain of dog flu has been reported to be spreading through the Western region of the United States.
In Seattle, health officials reported that tests confirmed that 80-90 dogs in a local kennel and doggie daycare facility developed the respiratory illness during the month of December.
The dogs developed canine influenza, a highly contagious illness that started spreading through Chicago last year, affecting more than 1,000 dogs. Since, the canine influenza has spread to 25 states.
"It kind of stunned most of us in the veterinary community because it spread like wildfire," veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward told CBS News last Spring when the outbreak first began.
According to experts, the virus is called H3N2, and only recently appeared in the United States, and because of this, dogs are very vulnerable to the virus.
If you are part of one of the 46.3 million households that own a dog, it is natural to be concerned. However, being prepared is the best way to effectively prevent and treat canine influenza.
The most common symptoms of this dog flu are a high fever, cough, watery eyes, runny nose, and loss of appetite. Typically, dogs who contract the virus feel sick for roughly two weeks. Veterinary technicians
recommend that you pay attention to changes in behavior in your dog, including a loss of interest in food and water, as well as less playing, labored breathing, or irregular sleeping patterns.
Additionally, you should take your dog in for regular checkups at your veterinary practice. As part of good pet health care, veterinary medicine experts suggest bringing your dog in for a checkup at least twice a year, and puppies need to brought in every three to four weeks for vaccines up until they reach 16 weeks of age.
Keeping your pet safe and healthy is the top priority of any dog owner. If you are concerned for your pet, visit a veterinary technician at your local pet hospital for more information and guidance.