Highly Contagious Dog Virus Spreads Across Florida

Health officials here in Florida confirm there are seven active cases of the Canine Influenza Virus, also known as Dog Flu.

Six other cases are pending.

The affected dogs are in stable condition and are mainly being treated by veterinarians in central and north Florida, the school said.

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The virus was responsible for a 2015 outbreak in Chicago

It is the first time the canine flu strain has been found in the United States since a 2015 outbreak in Chicago that sickened about 1,000 dogs.

You may remember dog flu circulating throughout the country back in 2015, but the virus has never made any headway in the Sunshine State - until now.

Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, frequent coughing, fever and little to no appetite.

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Most dogs recover at home without complications, but some require hospitalization, the FDACS said.

Most dogs have no immunity for the disease and are not vaccinated for it. That particular form of dog flu was transmitted from horses and was first discovered in racing Greyhounds in Florida, according to the American Kennel Club.

Most veterinary offices in South Florida already offer the H3N8 vaccine which may offer some cross protection, but the best way to help stop the spread of the virus is to immediately quarantine any infected dog for four weeks.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the disease is a bird flu that adapt and spread to dogs. However, Lista said her practice will now make vaccinations available to all dog and cat owners and recommend it to at-risk dogs that might be boarded or traveling. This means pets can be infected by simple exposure to places like grooming parlors or dog parks.

Seven cases were first reported Tuesday and additional ones confirmed Wednesday.

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