Groomer Requiring Flu Shots For Dogs

Canine flu vaccine, which costs about $20, not required by state of Texas

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013  |  Updated 11:41 PM CDT
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A Tarrant County dog groomer is requiring all dogs get the canine flu vaccine before she'll board them or groom them.

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

A Tarrant County dog groomer is requiring all dogs get the canine flu vaccine before she'll board them or groom them.

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Groomer Requiring Flu Shots For Dogs

A Tarrant County dog groomer is requiring all dogs have a flu vaccine before she'll board them or groom them.
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A Tarrant County dog groomer is requiring all dogs have a flu vaccine before she'll board them or groom them.

Becky Langbein started Happy Tails out of her home 17 years ago. Since then, it's grown to two locations and 23 employees.

Langbein made the decision to require flu shots after hearing  a horror story from one of her employees.

A Colorado groomer had to shut its doors for weeks after 160 dogs all came down with the canine flu. A few of the dogs became severely ill, and it cost the owner thousands of dollars in lost business.

The requirement doesn't have anything to do with how bad the flu season has been for humans.  Canine flu is a completely different strain and poses little to no threat to humans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But like the human flu, canine influenza is highly contagious.

Flu vaccines are not mandatory for dogs in the state of Texas, but Dr. Trish White, with the Rendon Road Animal Clinic said more businesses like Happy Tails should consider putting their own vaccine requirements in place.

"You'd start with one case, and then in three days you might have 20 cases and then in two weeks it could be 100 cases," said White.

The spread of flu is simply too large a risk for Langbein, who said she not only wants to protect the animals she's taking care of but also the reputation of the business she has spent her life building.

"It doesn't matter how clean your facility is or what you do. It's an airborne virus that can be passed from one to another," said Langbein.

Canine flu shots cost about $20.  Langbein said her vaccine requirement has cost her a few customers, but she believes it's what is best for her remaining ones.

Happy Tails has two locations in Burleson; one on Rendon Road and another in Old Town Burleson.

NBC 5's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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