Animal hospital warns owners of dog flu outbreak in upstate

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Several animal hospitals, pet boarding houses and pet groomers in the Greenville and Spartanburg areas are warning pet owners of an outbreak of canine flu.

The Balanced Pets Integrative Care Center, located at Travelers Rest, said there have been confirmed cases of H3N2 canine influenza in surrounding cities and states.

The H3N2 canine flu is a contagious airborne virus with symptoms including coughing, sneezing, lethargy and possible loss of appetite, according to the center.

Experts say the flu puts dogs at risk when they visit boarding houses, groomers, dog parks, or even just walk around the community where another dog might have been.

Creature Comforts Veterinary Resort and Suites says that, just like people, dogs can be affected by different strains of the flu. There are two strains that affect dogs internationally: H3N2 and H3N8.

There is now a vaccine that protects against both H3N2 and H3N8 strains, Creature Comforts said. A booster is needed two to four weeks later, and dogs should be revaccinated with one dose every year.

Dogs can still catch the flu with the vaccine, however, the clinical signs will be milder.

Pet owners are encouraged to speak with their veterinarian before making boarding arrangements to decide if they should have their dog vaccinated.

For more information on H3N2 canine influenza, visit American Veterinary Medical Association.

Benjamin M. Yerger