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Dog Flu Outbreak in Florida: What Pet Owners Need to Know

Photo: Austin Community College Vet Tech Program via Flickr Creative Commons

The first case of canine influenza, or "dog flu," was confirmed in Florida this week. More than a dozen cases of the highly contagious H3N2 canine flu virus has been identified in northern and central Florida since the first diagnosis, including cases in the Orlando area.

The virus has circulated elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad in the past. While the virus isn't considered fatal, untreated canines can suffer serious and even deadly symptoms, including pneumonia. Effective vaccinations are available, but pet owners are urged to call their vets before bringing their dogs in for treatment, as infected dogs are very contagious. There's no evidence virus can infect people.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine Maddie’s Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, joins the show to answer the basics about dog flu, and discuss how veterinarians in central and north Florida are treating dogs suspected to have the virus.

Also joining the program is Bonnie Tucker, an ER veterinarian in Fort Myers, to share her expertise on pet health emergencies in Southwest Florida.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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