New canine flu poses threat to Houston Pets

What you need to know and how to protect your dog

The Houston Humane Society (HHS) is warning pet owners about the dangers of the new canine flu and is now stocking the vaccine at their low cost Animal Wellness Clinic.

What is the new canine flu? An influenza A strain, the “new flu” is classified as H3N2. The virus is of avian origin, and in 9 short months it has spread across 25 states, including Texas! Most unvaccinated dogs are susceptible to infection, and unless a dog has already had the illness and recovered, almost every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. The best protection against canine influenza is vaccination. *Note – neither strain of canine influenza is infectious to humans, but the dog flu is not seasonal like the human flu – it’s a year-round problem.

How is canine flu spread? Much like a common cold or flu virus in humans. Canine influenza viruses are most commonly spread through direct dog contact (sniffing, licking, nuzzling); through the air (coughing and sneezing); via contaminated surfaces (sharing water bowls or toys); or through contaminated humans (with viruses on their hands or clothing).

Quickly assess your dog’s risk: Does your dog visit doggie day care? Board at a boarding facility or pet hotel? Attend training classes? Play at dog parks? Participate in dog-friendly events? Attend dog shows or sporting events? Visit a groomer or the local pet store? Often greet other dogs during walks? If you answered “yes” to one or more, your dog is at a higher risk for canine influenza!

Visit HoustonHumane.org/news/latest-news/dog-flu for more information about the new flu virus and vaccine, H3N2, and to find out more information about the original canine flu strain, H3N8.

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