Dog flu spreads to San Diego County

There is a new warning for local dog owners in San Diego, as the first known case of dog flu has been found in a dog at a San Diego County veterinary clinic.

While there’s not a single case among the animals inside San Diego’s Humane Society, Dr. James Ransom has treated it before and says it is highly contagious, spreads easily at dog parks and elsewhere.

“If they cough on a susceptible dog, that dog potentially is at risk, could have come from Chicago or from somewhere kind of Midwest,” he said.

It is a severe strain of the virus before seen only in Korea and China that’s been taking dogs down in the Chicago area. Animal hospitals are overwhelmed with over 1,700 cases diagnosed and at least five dogs have died from the dog flu.

The San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association says the virus in San Diego is mild and not the strain that has so many vets worried in the Midwest, but that strain is getting closer. There were two dogs recently diagnosed in the Los Angeles area.

Symptoms for dogs are similar to those of people with the flu — lethargy, sneezing, coughing and runny nose.

Dr. Ransom says the best advice for pet owners here is to keep their dogs up on their shots

“You want to make sure your dogs are fully vaccinated and healthy before you take them to places like dog parks and boarding facilities.”

Dr. Ransom says he’s far more concerned about the illnesses they are currently seeing in San Diego in large numbers like parvo, what can be a deadly intestinal virus for dogs. Dr. Ransom said getting your dogs vaccinated will protect them from that too.


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