Canine Flu Outbreak Plagues Metro Area

Veterinarians suggest vaccine to protect your pups.

By Roseanne Colletti
|  Monday, Nov 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:38 PM EDT
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A warning for pet owners: If you've noticed your dog has been sniffling or coughing lately, it could have the dog flu.  Veterinarians are reporting an outbreak of the flu in the New York metro area.  Roseanne Colletti reports.

NBC New York

A warning for pet owners: If you've noticed your dog has been sniffling or coughing lately, it could have the dog flu. Veterinarians are reporting an outbreak of the flu in the New York metro area. Roseanne Colletti reports.

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Has Fido had his flu shot?  

Veterinarians are reporting an outbreak of canine flu in the New York metro area.

"There's going to be coughing, sneezing, and oftentimes will have a flu, but that is usually missed by the owners," said Dr. Michael Goldman of the Nanuet Animal Hospital.

Vets aree recommending a vaccine for dogs that will spend any time in close quarters with other dogs, such as at a kennel.     

The Journal News reports that officials at the Cornell University Veterinary School say canine flu has been spreading in New York City, the lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey.     

Canine flu is not fatal but is highly contagious. "It is a new disease to dogs, and they have no immunity to it already," said Goldman.   

Symptoms include cough, runny nose and fever.

“When you have the flu, it makes you more susceptible to bacterial infections such as pneumonia,” Goldman added. He told NBC New York there is no prescribed treatment for the dog flu, but resulting bacterial infections would be treated with antibiotics.

An animal shelter in Teterboro N.J. was closed for two weeks last month after numerous dogs came down with the flu.     

Soon after, several dogs that had boarded at a Rockland County kennel were diagnosed with the disease.    

One of the sick dog's owners, Diane Hixson, told NBC New York her dog was "honking, coughing and gagging" after catching canine flu at the kennel.

"You always get scared when they get sick," she added.

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