Protecting your pets from Canine Influenza

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -
When you get the flu, you sneeze, you cough and most of the time you just want to sleep, but humans aren't the only ones.

"It's a very new thing for us, which is coming out all over now," says Karen Holloway with Pierson Pet Hospital.

More cases of one of two strand of the canine influenza virus are starting to pop up across Mid Michigan.

"They can have a fever, they can have nasal discharge, coughing. They can have mucus when they cough," says Holloway.

Just like the virus seen in humans, there are ways you can prevent it.
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"We do have a vaccine for it now, says Holloway. "The pets have to be a least 8 weeks old or older. It's given the first flu vaccine and then it has to be boosted again in 3 to 4 weeks."

While your dog, or cat, cant give the virus to you, you can give the influenza virus to them.

"If you have the flu really bad, you're in their face, it's spread through basically sneezing coughing anything like that where saliva comes into the matter," says Holloway.

They can also spread it from animal to animal. Tha'ts why places like animal shelters and dog parks are highly contagious.

"Puppy classes, agility classes, anything like that, dog shows," says Holloway. "They're more prone to it."

Most cases are treated with antibiotics or IV fluids, but if the virus goes undetected it can result in severe pneumonia.