A new strain of dog flu is making its way across the country.
The virus has not made its way to South Mississippi, but it has already spread to 25 U.S. states.
Dr. Paul Calhoun from the Animal Medical Center in Hattiesburg said vaccinations can help to keep dogs safe.
“The vaccine is a preventative type, its administered two times and again once a year after,” Calhoun said.
The virus is often confused with kennel cough which is a bacteria. The symptoms for Canine Influenza are more life threatening.
“The virus is very similar to all the pneumonia type viruses,” Calhoun said.
“Coughing is definitely one. Fever is another one. All of those come into play when you see a patient that has influenza.”
Almost all dogs are vulnerable to the virus.
“It’s contracted very similar to the way humans get the flu,” Calhoun said.
“Sneezing, nasal secretions, any of those kind of close contact places like that. Those viruses will float.”
Dogs have a higher chance of catching the flu at places like dog parks, boarding facilities, and daycares, but proper infection control can help to reduce that risk.
“If they’re not vaccinated some of the things we do here is certainly disinfection,” Veterinary Technician Allison Patrolia said.
“We’re going to make sure everything is disinfected properly from the yards, to the bowls to the doors, kennels everything is properly disinfected according to the protocols for Canine influenza.”
Humans can’t contract Canine Influenza.