Vets urge dog owners to vaccinate pets to avoid canine flu

Updated: Sep. 28, 2017 at 5:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The flu season is coming for humans but dog owners have to worry about their pet year round.

"There is not a season for canine flu," said Andy Sokol, a veterinarian with Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic.

Sokol is a long time veterinarian at Caldwell MIll Animal Clinic. Sokol said dog flu can be an issue all year long.

Canine influenza first turned up in greyhound racing kennels in 2004. Since then, it has spread across the country and could be deadly if not treated.

"Usually see it when it's a gathering of dogs. Usually at a kennel, doggie daycare, grooming area because when one has it, it's easily contagious," Sokol said.

The symptoms are sluggishness, a fever and running nose. Some pet owners may confuse it with kennel cough where the dog may have a nagging cough but remain very active. Sokol recommends pet owners get a vaccine for the dog flu each year.

"We've been dealing with canine flu vaccines for over six years in trying to reduce animals risk of getting the flu," Sokol said.

The clinic has vaccines for the two different strains of dog flu and it requires a vaccination once a year. The cost is about $18.

Kennel cough requires a separate vaccination. The cost about $25.

Sokol said you should just add a dog flu vaccine to your dog's usual checkup.

If the dog contracts the flu, it may require a couple of days at the vet on antibiotics and fluids.

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