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Vets: Take precautions to protect your dog against flu

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A reminder for dog owners in the Hoosier state.

Indiana State Board of Animal Health veterinarians say dog owners should be watchful, but shouldn’t be alarmed about a large number of cases of dog flu reported recently in the Chicago area.

Indiana vets say there haven’t been a significant number of cases reported yet in Indiana.

They’re hoping pet owners take precautions now to protect their dogs.

“Canine influenza is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily among dogs,” said Sandra Norman, a veterinarian for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, or BOAH. “Dog owners who travel with their pets to infected areas or take them to places where many dogs congregate, like dog parks or kennels, should consider vaccinating their animals.”

Vets say since this virus is new (it was discovered in 2005), Hoosier dogs that haven’t been exposed to the disease could be more susceptible to infection.

“Normal, healthy dogs, if exposed, will likely become ill but recover. Very old, very young and immuno-suppressed pets are at highest risk, should they be exposed,” said Dr. Norman.

So – what should you watch out for? A persistent cough that could last up to three weeks. You should also watch out for a fever along with that coughing and a runny nose. Other symptoms may include lethargic behavior or a poor appetite. If you see any of those symptoms, you’re asked to bring your dog to the vet to be checked out.

The virus is not contagious for humans.

For more information from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, click here.

To read information from the CDC, click here.