Dog flu on the rise in Tennessee - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dog flu on the rise in Tennessee

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Dog flu cases are on the rise in parts of Tennessee, and they are being linked back to a dog show in Georgia.

The disease is highly contagious and has local veterinarians offering dog owners tips on how to keep their dogs safe.

8 in 10 dogs exposed to the flu will carry the flu, but few will get sick.

One Chattanooga veterinarian said local dog owners should not be alarmed, but cautious.  

"At this point in time we don't feel like it is a threat to the average dog in the average house in Chattanooga," urged Dr. Tai Federico, a veterinarian with Riverview Animal Hospital.

However, Dr. Federico said pet owners should know the symptoms, like excessive coughing and sneezing.

"Dog flu is just going to look like any other upper respiratory tract infection in dogs," explained Dr. Federico.

He said most dogs will react to dog flu the same way a person would react to the flu.  

"They're going to have a few uncomfortable days, but then their immune system is going to do what it's supposed to do," urged Dr. Federico, "They're going to build antibodies to the virus and they're going to recover."

Only about 20% of dogs are likely to show symptoms.

However, since the dog flu can be contagious among furry friends, he suggests taking precautions.

Dr. Federico said dog owners should stay away from groups of dogs they don't know.

"Don't go to some place where large numbers of dogs where you don't know the vaccination status of are going to be located," said Dr. Federico, "So, you would want to stay away from the dog parks."

There is a vaccine to prevent dog flu, but Dr. Federico is not recommending it to his patients.

"We're watching the situation and, you know, as soon as it becomes apparent that it is become apparent here in Chattanooga than we would recommend vaccinating," urged Dr. Federico.

The flu is unlikely to spread from dogs to people.

Dogs who get the flu will recover in 2-3 weeks.

If you do choose to vaccinate your pet, the vaccine typically costs $25 a dose plus the exam visit, and requires 2 doses 3 weeks apart.

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