Summer is over and the dog flu is still going strong

Summer is over and the dog flu is still going strong
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Earlier this year, animal health professionals warned dog owners to keep their pets away from dog parks, kennels and dog shows. The advice was intended to prevent the spread of the highly-contagious canine flu.

Now that summer is behind us, dog owners are still being warned to take precautions and to have their dogs vaccinated.

Most dogs do not develop serious symptoms. The warnings signs include fever, loss of appetite, a runny nose and a cough.

The canine flu is very contagious and potentially fatal. It can be transmitted by a dog's fur or through the air in a sneeze. And it's believed most dogs that come in contact with the virus will contract the disease.

Every dog that comes into Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) is now given a flu shot.

Out of the 120 dogs currently in custody, LMAS Director Ozzy Gibson said 50 are displaying some symptoms.

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Gibson said new procedures were created when mortality rates among infected dogs were expected to be very high.

"When (the dog flu) first came out they said 20 percent (mortality)," Gibson said. "What we're finding here, that is not even close. I would say we've probably lost since it started, maybe five. And those were dogs that had other issues. And what happens when you have other issues and get the flu? It goes into pneumonia."

Solid partitions have been erected around kennels to prevent the flu from being spread by sneezes.

Gibson said, based on the experience of other cities, the dog flu will continue to cause problems in Louisville for years. He urged the public to continue adopting animals in their care.

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