Could canine flu be making a comeback in Georgia?
Dr. Robert Cobb, the state’s veterinarian, recently confirmed a rise in cases of H3N2 canine influenza in dogs associated with exhibitions and assemblies.
Dogs from several states, including three in Georgia, have been diagnosed with the respiratory infection.
To prevent the spread of the virus, pet owners are encouraged to start and maintain proper biosecurity procedures.”
In May, dogs from several states attended a dog show held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. Many of the dogs had recently attended dog shows in other states. “Following the show in Perry, multiple attendee dogs developed respiratory disease and have been found positive to H3N2,” according to a release about the incident. “Several kennels in Georgia are reporting increased respiratory disease. Isolation and testing is in progress."
Dr. Jamilia Johnson of the Atlanta Humane Society, said more pet owners have come in to vaccinate their dogs.
“ It seems clients care more aware of the dog flu this year are taking precautions if they feel their pets are at risk."
The virus does not appear to affect humans, but is highly contagious in dogs. A few years ago an outbreak happened across the nation. Owners were advised to be cautious at dog parks and boarding facilities.
“From a shelter perspective, we are aware of the recent canine influenza cases and follow best practices of cleaning and treating illness of the animals in our care, on a daily basis, to ensure our animals are healthy, said Christina Hill, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Humane Society. “We have an active, in house, shelter medicine team that works with our Animal Care team to monitor animals and provide them individualized medical care. “
She encourages dog owners to monitor their dogs closely for flu symptoms, including nasal discharge, sneezing, mild fever and lethargy and speak with their veterinarian for more information on vaccinating their dogs
The death rate for canine flu is low and most dogs recover without any complications. Affected animals should be isolated until a diagnosis is made and appropriate veterinary action taken.
It’s not a reportable disease to the state’s veterinary office.
For more information go to the department’s website.