First cases of ‘dog flu’ confirmed in Florida

(WSVN) - State officials say the first cases of H3N2 canine influenza virus, or “dog flu,” have been confirmed in Florida.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Tuesday that the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed seven cases of the virus in the state. Six additional tests for dog flu are still pending.

The virus has been in the United States since 2015, but officials note this is the first time it has been confirmed in the Sunshine State.

Dog flu is highly contagious, but has a low mortality rate. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge that can last for two or more weeks. Dogs usually are lethargic, have a fever and a decreased appetite when they first contract the virus. Most dogs recover without complications, but the FDACS said some can require hospitalization.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian prior to visiting to decrease the chance of exposure to other animals.

Owners can ask their vets to vaccinate their dogs against canine influenza virus. For more tips on how to protect your pet, visit the University of Florida’s website.

For more information on canine influenza, click here.

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