Preventing the Dog Flu

UPPER AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- We've been talking about flu season for months now. But did you know your four-legged friends can also get influenza?

Jeannine Dettbain walked her dog Destiny at Shikellamy State Park near Sunbury on Monday. Dettbain has four dogs and does everything she can to make sure they are taken care of.

"Make sure they have their vaccines, we make sure they're healthy and well cared for," Jeannine Dettbain said.

One thing Dettbain did not know about was canine influenza, which cropped up across the country last year. Now, veterinarians want pet owners to be prepared.

"Of main concern would be young animals or older animals, or animals that may have a compromised immune system," Dr. Rush Holt said.

Holt is a veterinarian at Sunbury Animal Hospital. He tells Newswatch 16 there are two strains of dog flu and the symptoms are similar to our flu.

"Coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge," Dr. Holt said.

Dog flu is usually not deadly, but it's very contagious.  Much like the human flu, canine influenza can be prevented with a flu shot.  Canine influenza is spread through contact with other dogs.

"Dogs that are going to boarding facilities, being groomed, dogs that like to go to dog parks," Dr. Holt said.

If you take your dog to a kennel, Dr. Holt recommends making sure the facility is clean. Preventative action is something Jeannine Dettbain will take.

"Going to the vet is very expensive, and if I had to deal with the dog flu that means all four of my dogs would probably get it at once. I can't afford that, and neither can anybody else," Dettbain said.

If you think your dog has the flu, make sure to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

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