For the first time ever, the so-called "dog flu" has been detected in Florida, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Tuesday.
The highly contagious flu has been circulating around the country since 2015, but these cases are the first confirmed in Florida.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the disease is an avian flu virus that adapted and spread to dogs.
Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, frequent coughing, fever and little to no appetite.
While the H3N2 virus is similar to the influenza virus that affects humans, there has been no evidence to suggest that dogs pass the illness to humans. With this outbreak, veterinary doctors in Florida have treated around seven dogs and are anticipating positive reports for another six dogs.
The dogs are reported in stable condition. Coughing dogs produce invisible virus‐containing mists that travel more than 20 feet in the air, facilitating rapid spread of virus over distances.
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The disease isn't deadly on its own, but it can lead to pneumonia. which is.
Florida veterinarians are monitoring a canine flu outbreak that's already sickened at least a dozen dogs. "Most dogs don't have immunity, and [there are no] vaccines".
Anyone who suspects that a pet has the dog flu is encouraged to contact a veterinarian before taking the pet to the office to decrease the chance of spreading the virus to other animals at the clinic.
Although less common, the disease has also been known to spread to cats.
It is unclear where the seven cases of "dog flu" occurred in Florida. Dogs most at risk are those around other dogs at dog parks, grooming parlors and veterinary clinics.