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Dog flu is spreading across the United States

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 21:07:13-05

The dog flu is spreading across the country, prompting some to vaccinate their pets. Five dogs have died in the Chicago area and more than a thousand are reported sick.

Doctors at Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital said they administer the canine flu vaccine regularly, as parts of the country deal with borderline epidemics.

"My mom sent me an article all concerned as the grandmother she is," said Quina Feldstein, owner of a black labrador mix. "I'm not too concerned about it."

Not all dog owners are sold on the shot, which costs about $20 on average. In fact, some dog owners don't even know "dog flu" exists.

"In the early stages, it looks just like kennel cough, so a dry honking cough [is what] the dogs will display," said Dr. Matt Demey, owner of Seven Hills.

Dr. Demey said the cough can develop into pneumonia in serious cases, and with this current outbreak, there's a new problem.

"Right now, there's a new strain of canine influenza, and there's a new vaccine out for that," said Dr. Demey.

But for dog owners who opt not to get the vaccine, there are other ways to protect your pets.

Veterinarians advise avoiding large groups of dogs at places like shelters and kennels, because that's where viruses can spread fast.

The canine flu is specific to dogs and can't spread to other pets or humans. Young and elderly dogs are at the highest risk.

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