LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Are dogs in Arkansas at risk for a summer flu outbreak?
With several states around the country on high alert, we want you and your dog to be prepared and informed. There are some factors you should pay attention to.
Three states surrounding Arkansas have had cases of dog flu. Louisiana health officials have confirmed finding at least two cases of canine influenza, also known as dog flu. There have been outbreaks in Texas and Tennessee as well.
KSLA reported that the Kennel Club of Texarkana canceled their annual event to ensure the health and safety of dogs and their owners.
"I don't think people realize dogs get colds, they're very human like,” said Sarah Foy, a proud dog parent of two.
If you also own a pet, then you know they’re more than a little human like. They can be a little high maintenance.
“If you get behind on shots, you may have to start all over. It could be dangerous to their health. When they’re young you want to make sure you go to every appointment,” Lindsey Chaplin said, another proud dog mom of three.
A flu outbreak in the Natural State isn't a big concern to vets right now, but it is on their radar. Chloe Charlton, a veterinarian at All Pets Animal Hospital, spent her Saturday volunteering at a microchipping event in Little Rock.
“The h3n8 strain was out several years ago and the h3n2 is a new strain that has evolved,” Charlton said.
Canine influenza can be very contagious.
"You never know if they can get it or pass it around. And you can't tell until it happens,” said Chaplin.
Dogs that are traveling to infected areas need to take precaution.
"To my knowledge, there was an outbreak in Florida, Georgia, and at dog shows. There have not been any cases in Arkansas of canine influenza yet,” Charlton said.
She recommends that some animals get what's called a "lifestyle vaccine".
"For a lot of my patients that are in dog shows, I recommend having at least one of these vaccines done and a booster vaccine,” she said.
Early disease prevention is key to your animal’s health.
"I know lots of vets send cards to the house to remind you, that’s important to watch,” said Chaplin.
Look out for signs like dry coughs, lack of appetite, or a runny nose and eyes.
“You may not notice that your dog is coughing or you may not think it's a cough. Some people just think they've got something stuck in their throat,” Charlton added.
Today’s microchipping and dog wash event was a fundraiser for Care, an animal rescue group. To find out about other events they're having or to donate, click here.
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