Forget Swine Flu, dogs have their own flu to deal with - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Forget Swine Flu, dogs have their own flu to deal with

By Heather Rowe - email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - After some deaths and dozens of dogs getting sick from the H3N8 flu virus, Tucson area veterinarians are recommending a new vaccine.

Veterinarians say the dog flu virus has been around for about ten years, but only diagnosed since 2004. They have no way of tracking the number of dogs dying each year because there isn't enough information.

Dr. Jameson Ketchmark, from the Saguaro Veterinary Clinic says the dog flu has made it to Arizona in the past. That's why he recommends dogs get this vaccine if they're the social type.

The vaccine is a series of two shots, two or three weeks apart, followed by a yearly booster.

Statistics reveal about 80 percent of dogs that come in contact with the H3N8 virus will get sick, but only ten to 20 percent will get seriously ill.

Tucson Vet Dr. Randy Arronson of P.A.W.S. says it's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as you notice symptoms. They are similar to the human symptoms of flu.

If you see your dog avoiding food, acting tired, or vomiting have them seen as soon as possible.

Treatment can be as simple as medication but can be more complicated, drawn out, and expensive if you wait. Dr. Arronson stresses dog flu is still rare in Tucson and is not something pet owners should be alarmed about, but should be aware of.

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