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Veterinarian Offers Tips to Prevent Dog Flu

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Several cases of dog flu have been reported across the country. Newswatch 16 spoke to a veterinarian in Tamaqua who does not believe we will have an outbreak of dog flu in our area.

There have been several hundred cases of the dog flu recorded on the west coast and a few have even been reported in New York recently.

Newswatch 16 checked in with some people in Tamaqua to see if they were concerned about their dogs getting the flu.

"It's not something particularly I worry about because like (my dog) doesn't hang around a lot of other dogs too much and I haven't really heard about many cases around here either," Hilary Van Wickle of Coaldale said.

While there have been several cases of dog flu reported in other parts of the country, a veterinarian at Tamaqua's Companion Animal Hospital doesn't expect to see that many cases here locally.

"We haven't seen a huge problem with it locally, but again, it's everywhere," Companion Animal Hospital veterinarian Kathryn Kropp said. "It could show up at any time. We did have a dog with it a couple months ago. That dog came from out west."

Dr. Kropp said the dog flu usually spreads when a lot of dogs are kept together, like in kennels. She said the virus is spread through human contact or through sneezes and coughs shared between dogs. She says the symptoms can being lethargic, laying around, fever, nasal or eye discharge or a cough.

Kropp said the virus is not that common but can be deadly if it is not treated. There is a vaccine for the virus that she recommends you give your dogs if you plan to kennel them.

Van Wickle said she makes sure her dog Bear is always up to date on his shots.

"They have vaccinations for it, so as long as you're prepared for it, there is nothing really to worry about," Van Wickle said.

Dr. Kropp said the flu vaccine requires two shots and takes a little time before it becomes effective, so if you plan to house your dog around many other dogs in the near future, she said to make sure you vaccinate your dog early.