Local News

Raleigh vet: Canine flu is a 'highly contagious' virus

Posted June 8

— A highly contagious virus affecting dogs made its way to North Carolina, and several cases were confirmed in the Triangle.

Dr. Harold Pearce, of Leesville Animal Hospital, says dog owners need to be proactive when treating canine influenza.

"I believe at this point, we have possibly an explosive situation where this is a highly contagious virus," Pearce said.

Dr. Harold Pearce

Symptoms of canine influenza include coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

Pearce says not only is it highly contagious, but a dog can have it and the owner may not know. He urges people to protect their pets by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Some of these dogs can actually be infected and spreading the virus for several days before they even become symptomatic," Pearce said.

The death rate for canine influenza is low. Pearce said it is estimated at 3 to 8 percent.

"So we are probably not going to see a large number of dogs that are going to die from this, but we are going to see, potentially an exposure to a large number of dogs, that are going to require treatment," he said.

Pearce said his office is treating every coughing dog as if they have the virus by separating them and being extra cautious.

If you're interested in getting the vaccine for your dog, contact your vet.

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