Local veterinarians are warning against a fast spreading disease affecting dogs.
H3N2 is a new strain of the dog flu. It was first identified in 2015 and hit its peak last year mainly in Chicago and the upper Midwest.
Now the virus is in the North Texas area and veterinarians are concerned because it can spread rapidly. "I think that if your dog is in a social setting with other dogs you should be concerned," said Dr. Jim Turner with Farrell Animal Hospital in Arlington.
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"This is much easier to prevent then to deal with after the fact," said Turner.
A coughing dog who has the virus can spread it twenty feet away. Veterinarians are keeping a watchful eye. "It is like most flu viruses spread through respiratory droplets," said Turner. “It can live on surfaces for a period of time but it's mainly close contact with other dogs infected.”
The virus incubates in the animals body over a two to five-day period before the dog shows signs according to the experts. During that period, the dog can spread the disease to others even if they don’t show any symptoms.
Dogs can be contagious with H3N2 for about three weeks. "It may be mild enough that you won't think much about it but with time as it becomes more severe the fever will increase and maybe their appetite drops,” said Turner.
The virus usually causes a mild illness in most dogs, but it can lead to pneumonia Although H3N2 is highly contagious the good news is there is a vaccine.
It’s important to note that humans can’t get H3N2 from their pets. Doctors say the dog flu is not seasonal and can be passed on any time of year. Recovery time can be up to two weeks.