Canine flu sweeps the Midwest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Canine flu sweeps the Midwest

Posted: Updated:

More than 1000 dogs in the Midwest have been stricken with a highly contagious strain of the canine flu.

The new strain has already killed six dogs, and although there are no cases in Eastern Iowa, veterinarians say pet owners need to be aware of the warning signs.

"Nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, they look like they have an upper respiratory infection -- those are the symptoms you need to be looking for," says veterinarian Colleen Nemmers.

She says the most recent flu strain is extremely aggressive, hitting animals hard compared to milk infections vets typically see. 

Nemmers say fortunately, it can be caught.

"We can do a nasal swab, and Iowa state is actually one of the labs doing this right now. So we can send it off to Iowa State to test for them," she says.

Vets say one of the most common ways dogs are spreading the disease is at doggy day cares.

Again, there are no cases of canine flu in Iowa, but day care owner Connie Apling says she always makes sure her visitors are healthy.

"Dogs are social animals and that is what day care is all about, to come be social. But just use some common sense, if you see a dog that is exhibiting some of those warning sighs, you may want to steer clear," says Apling.

Dogs can be vaccinated for the flu just like people can.

People can spread the disease just by petting an infected dog, so vets say make sure to wash your hands when interacting with other dogs.

Powered by Frankly