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Why Virginia vet calls Midwest dog flu ‘very concerning’

Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-17 07:50:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A strain of the dog flu that has never before been seen in the United States has some Central Virginia pet owners worried. Six dogs have died from H3N2, which originates in Asia.  More than 1,100 dogs in the Midwest, mostly in the Chicago area, have been affected, But cases have since been reported in Indiana, Wisconsin and Georgia. A Central Virginia veterinarian said dog owners in Virginia should be on alert.

dogflumap "It is very concerning," Dr. Neal Rose, an area veterinarian, said. "Cats can even pick up that particular virus."

Dr. Rose said this particular strain is moving unusually fast, and since there is no known vaccine is very contagious. A severe cough is the main symptom.

Dog Flu

Humans can serve as carriers of the disease. For instance, a pet owner can pet a dog at work and then bring the virus home to their animal.

"If you get a building contaminated with this virus, it is a major cleaning operation and almost a shutdown," Dr. Rose said.

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Dr. Rose said his office is preparing for any possible cases and will treat any animal with a cough in the owner's car before possibility contaminating the office.