Dog flu has come to Florida for the first time, with seven dogs being confirmed to have the H3N2 canine strain in the state and six others awaiting test results.
The dogs were tested and treated at the University of Florida and all are in stable condition, USA Today reported. 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.
More isolated positive diagnoses were also found in other states during the 2015 outbreak. Dog flu is highly contagious and can easily spread in veterinary waiting rooms even if dogs don’t have direct contact, USA Today reported. A vaccine exists for the disease, and most dogs aren’t naturally immune to it.
The flu strain can’t be spread to humans, but cats can be infected. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, and sometimes pneumonia which can be life-threatening, according to USA Today. The flu is not seasonal like human strains, so dogs can be infected any time of year.
The current outbreak may have stemmed from dogs participating in dog shows in DeLand and Perry, Georgia, between May 19 and 27. Dogs infected with the flu should be quarantined from other dogs and cats for four weeks because they can spread germs up to 20 feet, according to the Miami Herald. Most dogs can recuperate at home.
The origin of the disease is an avian strain that mutated, which came first from China, Korea, and Thailand, the Herald reported.
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