Dog flu growing concern for Florida pet owners

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Dog flu—its something some people have never even heard of, but veterinarians say it’s a real threat.

Dr. Cassi Fleming from Gainesville Animal Hospital says your dog may have the flu and you don’t even know it.

" Some dogs can be asymptomatic. So they can be shedding the flu virus and putting your dog at risk for the flu and they're not showing any signs at all," Dr. Fleming said.

Outbreaks of canine influenza also known as dog flu have been reported in several states including Florida. Dog flu is highly contagious and dog owner Alexis Bolton is already taking precautions with her dog.

" I think I'll be more careful, but I'll definitely look into getting the flu shot for him," Bolton said.

Dr. Fleming says one of the best ways to protect your dog is to get them vaccinated, but its important to know which vaccine your dog is getting.

" Even if your dog is flu vaccinated its important that you find out which vaccine he or she has had,” Dr. Fleming said. “Some people think that their dog is flu vaccinated, but they're really only protected from one strain of the flu."

Doctors say dog flu can be spread through contact with other dogs, so taking your pet to places like dog parks can put them at high risk for catching the flu.

" Its about a 20 foot projection that they can do from a cough or sneeze or anything along those lines, Dr. Fleming said. “So if you do have a dog that gets the flu it would put other pets in your household at risk and really any other dog that they come into contact with at risk."

Though dog flu is contagious from to dog to dog doctors say it is not contagious to humans.

If you think your dog may have the flu or you want to get them vaccinated visit your local veterinary clinic.

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