Vets say canine flu is coming - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Vets say canine flu is coming

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If your dog gets the canine flu it can be deadly, especially with the strain that first surfaced in Florida in 2004. Canine flu is very contagious and local vets say there is an outbreak in Houston. They say it's only a matter of time before it gets here. So, they are doing what they can to make sure local dogs are vaccinated.

Bentley is a happy, healthy pooch and hopefully he'll stay that way. Veterinarians at Farr Veterinary Hospital have instituted a new policy requiring dogs dropped off and puppies to receive a vaccination to protect against canine flu.

Doctor Jae Chang says with current outbreaks the virus is bound to hit this area eventually. "The most recent outbreak has been in Houston, south of Houston, there's been a confirmed case. That's pretty close to where we live so we're encouraging all pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated for canine influenza, said Chang.

He says in between 1 and 5% of cases the canine influenza is fatal. "Once a dog has canine influenza they can get pretty sick. They'll have coughing issues, they'll have nasal discharge, they'll have a fever. Just general, typical signs of upper respiratory infection. But with canine influenza they can die from it."

 Chang says dogs at highest risk are those who come in contact with other dogs while boarding or at the groomers or at a shelter. He says all should get the immunization which starts with one shot and then a booster in three weeks.

Jared Primeaux says his dog Dolly is a big part of his life. He brought her in to get the shot, to protect her. "I know there have been outbreaks in Houston, Galveston and I think there were some in Mississippi so that's a concern and I didn't want that to affect her if she lives here and if it comes here locally so I decided to get her vaccinated. I think that's the best thing for her. I love her to death," said Primeaux.

Even after being immunized, dogs cans till get the canine flu but Chang says the cases are less severe. The canine flu is confirmed in 38 states.

At Farr the immunization shots run about twenty dollars a piece.

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