Veterinarians are encouraging dog owners to vaccinate their pets against the canine flu after an outbreak was reported in Los Angeles County.
Zarah Hedge, DVM, chief medical officer of the San Diego Humane Society, said the newest strain of canine flu was reported in California in 2015. Hedge said most dogs do not have immunity to the virus, which is why she advises dog owners to meet with their veterinarian to discuss vaccinating their furry friend.
“I was at the dog park and someone asked me, ‘Did your dog get the shot?’ and I didn’t know anything about it, ”said Jessica Corona. She is a dog owner and often visits the dog park. She said she didn’t know about the canine flu vaccination but is now considering getting her dog vaccinated.
“Don’t panic about the Los Angeles outbreak, but keep an eye out,” said Hedge, who stated that the San Diego Humane Society has not had any reports of dogs with flu or been made aware of cases in whole San Diego County.
Hedge said it could be difficult for pet owners to identify canine flu symptoms.
“If you notice your dog is coughing, sneezing, or having nasal discharge, or eye discharge, it could be a variety of different viruses,” Hedge said. Hedge emphasized the importance of consulting a veterinarian if dog owners experience cold / flu-like symptoms.
“It might be really important to make sure your dog has the flu vaccine and that it is a vaccine that covers both variants of the flu virus. Especially when they go to places like boarding houses, dog groomers, dog day care centers, dog parks or anywhere they have lots of other dogs. “
Hedge also said younger dogs and those with medical conditions could be more prone to developing serious illness from canine flu.