A vet school tracking cases of the highly contagious dog flu reported it has spread to South Carolina, and officials are urging dog owners to stay vigilant.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine reported South Carolina was one of eight states with confirmed cases of H3N2 canine influenza.
Health officials believe the flu was spread at two dog shows, including one in Perry, Ga., and another in Deland, Fla.
Symptoms begin to show two to four days after exposure, including fever, coughing, sneezing and lethargy, according to the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
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UGACVM reported vaccines for H3N2 and H3N8, another strain of the dog flu, have recently come on the market and is recommended for “socially active” dogs.
The Charleston Animal Society urged pet owners to look for signs of the flu and talk to their veterinarians.
“People should be in touch with their personal veterinarian on whether a flu shot is a good idea for their pet,” said Lucy Fuller, Charleston Animal Society senior director of veterinary care. “Situations like this really highlight why it’s important to have a veterinarian in your pet’s life.”
Officials do not believe the virus infects people, though it does spread to cats. It is typically not fatal in dogs and most can recover without complications at home, but it can progress to pneumonia if left untreated.
UGACVM reported 1-5 percent of dogs inflected with the dog flu will die.
Germs from coughing and sneezing dogs can reach up to 20 feet away and can stay on human clothing for up to 24 hours, according to Charleston Animal Society.
Dogs diagnosed with the flu should be quarantined for at least four weeks.
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▪ The virus spreads through the air and can travel up to 20 feet.
▪ It lives up to 24 hours on soft surfaces and 48 hours on hard surfaces.
▪ Eighty percent of all dogs exposed to it will contract the virus, although not all will show symptoms.
▪ Sick dogs show symptoms within 48 hours and can spread the virus for up to 28 days.
▪▪ While most sick dogs will recover with treatment, untreated dogs can develop potentially fatal pneumonia.
Source: American Kennel Club