Dog flu on the rise: How to protect your pooch

Humans can't get the dog flu, but it is highly contagious from dog-to-dog contact

Margaret Ragi holds Curry, a 5-year-old bichon frise, at her home in Upper Saddle River, N.J., after Curry recovered from the canine influenza virus which has proved fatal for many dogs around the United States. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Margaret Ragi holds Curry, a 5-year-old bichon frise, at her home in Upper Saddle River, N.J., after Curry recovered from the canine influenza virus which has proved fatal for many dogs around the United States. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new strain of dog flu that sickened at least 2,000 dogs in 25 states is spreading.

There haven’t been any reported cases of the H3N2 canine influenza virus in Oregon, but in December nearly 100 dogs at a day care facility in Kent, Washington became sick.

H3N2 is a highly contagious dog flu that experts say is similar to the human flu. Symptoms include coughing, weakness, lack of appetite and fever.

“Get an examination, X-rays and blood work and laboratory testing can be submitted to confirm influenza in your pet, but the cases can really vary,” Dr. Deena Relucio said.

Humans can’t get the dog flu, but it is highly contagious from dog-to-dog contact.

To help limit your pet’s chance of getting H3N2, Dr. Relucio says you should be wary of traveling across state lines. Also be sure to keep your pet away from unknown dogs, especially strays. And most importantly, get your dog vaccinated if you haven’t done so already.

Dog flu isn’t necessarily deadly on its own, however, combined with other ailments or pre-existing conditions, it could become much more serious.