The number of “dog flu” cases is up in Texas

(PHOTO: CBS Austin)

AUSTIN, Texas -- The number of “dog flu” cases is up in Texas, according to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). Veterinarians say the illness is highly contagious and can become deadly.

In a city known for its love of dogs, you can find canines just about everywhere you go in Austin. That includes Yard Bar, a bar just for dog lovers and canines.

In an effort to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, Yard Bar follows certain protocols.

"We sanitize everything daily. We sanitize all of our water bowls. we clean our tennis balls. We clean any toy that we have out there every day," Yard Bar Manager Michelle Tarantino said.

These measures are taken to prevent the spread of illnesses, like the dog flu. The illness is highly contagious, and cases, known as the H3N2 strain, have been reported in Georgia, Florida, and now Texas with one case being reported in Travis County. There are seven total cases in Texas so far.

About 80 percent of the dogs that contract the virus show symptoms, but any dog that has it can spread the virus to another dog through food and water bowls, dog parks, grooming salons, kennels, daycares, and other common places for dog-to-dog contact.

"It's nerve-racking. It definitely is," dog owner Phoebe Moore said. She frequently takes her dog, Chuck, to dog parks and doggy daycare.

Symptoms include a high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and sluggishness.

"You worry about your dog coming into contact with that and we've had problems in the past with our dogs getting flees and other things from dog parks," Moore said. She says Chuck is vaccinated, but she'll be looking for symptoms of the illness as precaution in the future.

Some vets recommend you have your dog vaccinated for the flu. According to TVMDL, fewer than 10 percent of cases become fatal.

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