LMAS warns of highly contagious dog flu - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

LMAS warns of highly contagious dog flu

80 percent of dogs exposed to canine flu will contract the illness, one vet said. (Source: Kasey Cunningham/WAVE 3 News) 80 percent of dogs exposed to canine flu will contract the illness, one vet said. (Source: Kasey Cunningham/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Animal Services released Friday it has been hit with Dog Flu.

According to the release, LMAS tested eight shelter dogs for the canine flu, four tests are pending and four have come back positive for H3N2, the new, highly contagious strain of canine flu, which can also be contracted by cats.

“It's just like the human flu but for dogs, and humans cannot contract this,” LMAS spokesperson, Erica Coghill said.

LMAS began vaccinating all shelter dogs for two strains of dog flu, including H3N2, on June 20. They will now begin treating all dogs for the flu as a precautionary measure, because the flu can remain dormant in a canine's system for three days with no symptoms.

Coghill said part of what makes the virus a problem is how long it can be spread after contact.

“It has longevity,” Coghill said. “It can live on your clothing, on your skin for up to 24 hours."

While there’s a vaccine for dogs, there’s not one for cats that catch the dog flu.

"The good thing is that the virus can easily be killed with the proper disinfectant, wiping your hands, using Lysol,” she said.

The Adoption and Animal Care Centers will continue to operate with regular hours over the weekend, but discourage community members from picking up stray, as they risk contaminating themselves and spreading the flu virus to other pets.

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“Try to limit your contact with pets that you don't know because they could have the flu and you could take that home to your pet,” Coghill said. “We don't want to create any panic. We don't want to scare people or tell people to not go the dog park or have your dogs groomed.”

If you see a stray, you're asked to call LMAS at (502)-473-PETS.

“This is a community wide issue,” Coghill said. “This is not an issue that's just limited to Louisville Metro Animal Services."

A press conference regarding the dog flu outbreak is planned on Monday morning at the Animal Care Center on Manslick Road. LMAS Director Ozzy Gibson is expected to speak, as well as LMAS veterinarian Dr. Rachel Brown and a representative from the Kentucky Humane Society.

LMAS says it is "working swiftly to formulate a plan to best handle this issue".

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