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Vet: New strain of dog flu not yet in Arizona, but owners should be careful

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PHOENIX — A new strain of influenza that affects dogs has not yet made its way to Arizona, but a local veterinarian said owners should be careful to protect their animals.

“Apparently there’s been an outbreak (that started in) Chicago back in March, where many dogs are coming down with it,” Jeffrey Cook, a veterinarian with Lookout Mountain Veterinary Clinic in Phoenix, said.

People cannot contract the virus, but they can spread it to healthy animals should the come into contact with a sick one.

Many dogs around the country have started to display signs of the illness.

“These dogs have high temperatures and they develop pneumonia,” Cook said. “These are very sick animals that require hospitalization.”

Cook said the virus hasn’t been a problem in Arizona, but people here do need to be aware of it.

“Because it is highly contagious, it now becomes an issue that we have to deal with,” he said.

Cook said dog owners shouldn’t hesitate to take their dogs in if they are acting strangely.

“Anybody that’s had their dog in a boarding kennel, and the dog is now coughing, not eating or not feeling well should certainly seek medical attention,” he said. “The sooner that these guys are treated, the better off that they’re going to do.”

A vaccine for this particular strain of flu is available.

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