A new and highly contagious dog virus is making its way across the country and has infiltrated parts of California. The virus, called canine influenza, has veterinarians and pet owners alike on alert, and dog owners are advised to watch their canine companions closely for symptoms of the illness.
According to experts, there are two different strains of canine influenza. However, the one causing concern most recently is H3N2. This strain is new to the United States and was said to come from Asia.
As for its origins, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the virus is a strain than derives from the bird flu and over time adapted to infect canines.
When H3N2 first appeared in the United States, it started in Chicago. From there, it spread to California, where it hit both Los Angeles and Orange County.
The virus is a respiratory disease. While the mortality rate for the virus is typically low, it can prove to be fatal if an infected dog goes untreated.
According to officials, dog owners should watch out for symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, glossy eyes, fever, lethargy, and a loss of appetite in their pets.
“You want to seek your veterinarian’s advice right away if you see your animal come down with any kind of symptoms like that,” said Nick Cullen, a Director of Animal Services in Kern County, California. “You want to refrain from taking them out to any public areas, because you don’t want to submit any other animals to any contagions your animal may be carrying.”
And while your canine companion could easily contract the virus from another dog, humans needn’t worry about being infected by H3N2, as experts have concluded that humans cannot contract the virus.