First cases of ‘dog flu’ confirmed in Florida

In this Aug. 8, 2012 photo, Parson Russell terrier named Juci is held by Samuel, a young patient at the SOLCA hospital in Quito, Ecuador. The dog's owner says her dogs are used every Wednesday to cheer up the most discouraged of the patients. Hospital workers began to notice that on Wednesdays fewer children had to be kept over because of problems after chemotherapy. Doctors found that youngsters' adrenaline levels rose from being with the dogs, boosting their resistance to chemo's side effects. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – The first cases of H3N2 canine influenza virus, aka “dog flu” have been confirmed in Florida.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in coordination with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, announced Tuesday the university has confirmed seven cases of the canine influenza virus. Six additional results for the virus are pending.

Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge and frequent coughing that can last for two weeks or more. Many dogs have a fever, decreased appetite and lethargy when they first become sick. The virus is highly contagious, but the mortality rate is low.

If dog owners suspect a case of dog flu, they should call their veterinarian prior to going to the clinic in order to decease chances of spreading the virus to other animals.

Dog owners can have their dogs vaccinated against canine influenza viruses.

Dog flu has been circulating throughout the country since 2015, but this is the first time it has been confirmed in Florida. There is no evidence that H3N2 infects people.

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