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Northeast Ohio Dog Owners Issued Health Alert For H3N2 Dog Flu

Dog owners in northeast Ohio are being alerted to a new strain of dog flu that has just been confirmed in the state. The highly contagious H3N2 canine influenza virus has struck several dogs in Solon, Ohio, causing their hospitalization, Fox 8 Cleveland reports. Veterinarians are encouraging their clients to get their dogs vaccinated against this newest strain of dog flu.

“Even though you don’t come out of the house very often, if you do have people that come over, and bring their dogs over, you don’t know if they’re vaccinated or not,” Solon Animal Hospital Veterinary Technician Laura Neff told the local news station. “It’s definitely the safest.”

Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, and frequent coughing that can last for two weeks or more. Other symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, and listlessness during the first few days of infection. If you suspect your dog may have the flu, contact your veterinarian. Avoid bringing your dog to places where other dogs may frequent.

Solon Animal Hospital Dr. Samantha Huston was not surprised that the virus had made its way to Ohio.

“I think that it is alarming. We’ve known about the outbreak since 2015 in Chicago, but slowly it’s been spreading elsewhere,” Huston told Fox 8 Cleveland. “So it was only just a matter of time before it would come into northeast Ohio.”

Staff of the hospital noted on its Facebook page that a vaccination is available for both the newer H3N2 strain and the older H3N8 strain.

“There is now a vaccine that has both strains in it,” Solon Animal Hospital staff wrote on their Facebook page. “We are recommending your furry friend get vaccinated for both strains, especially when boarding or grooming. Due to the flu being highly contagious and possibly fatal we advise to have the vaccination done.”

In addition to Ohio, the H3N2 canine influenza virus is also in the following eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas and Illinois.

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