Dog Flu Is Here, Consider Protection


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SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials are warning dog owners in Montgomery County to watch out for canine influenza after the deaths of two dogs.

The Department of Agriculture alerted veterinarians that the illness was identified in six dogs in Montgomery County last week and two of the sick dogs have died. Officials say the virus can cause an acute respiratory infection and is highly contagious.

Montgomery Parks officials are warning dog owners to contact their veterinarians if they notice symptoms including cough, runny nose and fever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dog flu can be spread by direct contact with infected dogs, contaminated objects and through people moving between infected and uninfected dogs.

Did you even know canine influenza or the dog flu existed? The good news is that if it is occurring in your area, it’s easy enough to vaccinate for. The trick is knowing whether it’s occurring wherever you are.  Like the human flu bug, dogs most susceptible are social, meeting and greeting other dogs in parks, dog daycare or groomers.

Here a piece I wrote for my national newspaper column about the dog flu. And here’s what the CDC says about the canine influenza virus.