Canine Flu: Tennessee is Monitoring for Signs of Illness
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Cases of canine flu have been confirmed in states surrounding Tennessee, including Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
While there are no confirmed cases in the Volunteer State, Dr. Melissa Kennedy of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine says dog owners should be on high alert to protect their pet from this contagious illness. She says symptoms can mimic other illnesses.
"It's typically a cough, runny nose, and they may have a little bit of conjunctivitis," she says. "Usually they will run a fever, they don't eat very well and may be a little bit depressed."
Experts recommend pet owners take their dog to the vet if it exhibits symptoms.
Canine flu can be deadly in puppies, and in dogs with existing health problems or compromised immune systems. Kennedy says the illness normally subsides within a couple of weeks, but only a test done with a veterinarian can confirm the illness.
She notes a dog should be safe from contracting the virus in its own backyard, but it may be wise to avoid areas like dog parks that expose dogs to multiple, unknown animals.
"There's a fine line between overreaction and taking the appropriate precautions," says Kennedy. "If I frequently board this animal, I would be concerned that he may be susceptible to contracting it."
Good sanitation practices can also reduce the risk to pets. The virus is easily killed with disinfectants. So far it has not been transmitted to humans.