CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Veterinarians are advising owners to think twice before boarding dogs as canine influenza becomes a concern in the Tri-State.
Animal Care Center recently sent an email to customers confirming there have been several cases of dog flu in the Cincinnati/Mason area.
A worker at PetSmart in Mason says the store has seen dogs with the illness at their doggy day care center, but that it's all cleaned up and they're back in business.
Camp Bow Wow in Cincinnati has advised owners against bring dogs for boarding, daycare or taking them to the dog park. The day care center has reported a high volume of canine cough, upper respiratory infections and a few confirmed cases of the canine flu.
This is a flu some vets say they've never seen before.
"No dogs in this country are immune to this flu because this is a new strain of flu. It's never been in this country before," said Dr. Wendy Vogel with the Animal Care Center of Fairfield.
Doctors say this flu comes in two forms. There is a mild form that is a lot like kennel cough, Vogel says. Dogs may cough, have a runny nose, but they still will be eating and active.
The other form is much more severe which leaves dogs lethargic and with a fever around 105 degrees. Dogs will be unlikely to eat, have a lot of coughing that could lead to pneumonia, as well as nasal and eye discharge.
"If your dog has a severe form there's going to be no doubt about it. You will know you have a very sick dog, and that's when you absolutely need to contact your veterinarian because those dogs require hospitalization," Vogel said.
Good hygiene can help your dog. The flu can be brought home on your hands and clothes, so it's suggested that you wash your hands if you touch another dog. Only let your canine hang out with their furry friends if it's absolutely necessary.
"We're advising at this point that dog parks and other play dates with dogs you don't know, this is maybe not a good time to do those things," Vogel tells FOX19 NOW.
This strain, doctors say can be fatal, even with proper care.
"Under ten percent is the mortality rate for this flu, but that is a fairly significant mortality rate. This flu can be fatal," Vogel explained.
To help, local doctors say a vaccine for an older flu strain is available and could lessen the severity.
"Be cautious. This flu outbreak is a cause for concern. It is not a cause for panic," Vogel said.