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Dog Flu making it's way across California

Since the dog flu exploded, impacting 46 states since 2015, new vaccines have been developed.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 5:31 PM

"Juno got sick about a month ago and we were worried, each morning she would get sniffly and we were really worried ... it was one of those tthings where, do you just take her to the vet or wait it out?" describes Chico resident and dog owner, Ryan Poirier.

It's flu season, and two strains of canine influenza are sweeping the country, now making their way up California.

"Sometimes the signs can be hard to notice - they seem more tired than usual, less of an appetite, what we think of as a regular flu in a person - coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge," said Dr. Mariana Turner, who works at Wags & Whiskers.

There are two strains going around California - H3N8 and H3N2 - and there are nearly 50 confirmed or suspected cases as far north as the bay area.

So here's what you need to know: first of all, you won't get the flu from your dog.

"These are canine-specific diseases, that you cannot pass to humans, or your cats either," said Dr. Turner

But you can give it to your dog.

So even if your pet doesn't come into contact with other animals, if you pet a dog that has it and touch your own clothing, you can transfer it to your dog that way.

"We live out in the country and this is sort of a treat for her to come and socialize with the other dogs," said Mike Froke from Los Molinos, who was at Degarmo Dog Park Thursday in Chico.

Unfortunately, dog parks can be a major hot spot for spreading the disease.

"I'd probably not come as often or be a little more cautious if I knew it was going around," said Froke.

Since the dog flu exploded, impacting 46 states since 2015, new vaccines have been developed.

"We travel with Freya a lot, to Montana a couple times, everywhere we go there's different conditions so we're real good about keeping her up," said Froke.

"Just like in people, it's preventative - do it before they're sick, once they're sick they already have it," said Dr. Turner.

And if your dog does come down with the flu?

"It's really mostly supportive care, make sure they do eat, get some fluids. It can progress to Pneumonia which is not very common but if it happens, there are medications for that as well," said Dr. Turner.

But, with no confirmed cases in Butte County, some dog owners say, they won't live in fear.

"They need to be active, socializing and getting excercise. I'd be concerned if they weren't eating or drinking but other than that, they need to get out and just be dogs," said Poirier.

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