DAVIS (CBS13) — Two new strains of canine influenza have hit California.
There are 72 reported cases across the state so far according to Cornell University.
Veterinarians are urging dog owners to vaccinate their four-legged friends. They say the two strains can be deadly.
Playtime at the dog park is about to become a lot more risky for your four-legged pups.
“The fear of them getting it is pretty prevalent,” said one dog owner.
Canine influenza is a big concern for Alison, who brings her two dogs to the park every week. She says she made an appointment with her vet to get her dogs vaccinated against the two new flu strains.
“It’s worth it, rather than actually having sick dogs.”
Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine reports 72 cases of the dog flu in California, just in the past month and a half.
“It absolutely has a potential to be deadly,” said Dr. Cara Bradley.
Dr. Bradley is a veterinarian in Davis who says the virus is also highly contagious. Symptoms can mimic kennel cough and become more severe to include high fever, pneumonia, and death.
Dr. Bradley says she thinks the flu was brought to California by dogs rescued from Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
“When these dogs are in a hurricane, typically they are stressed, without housing and support, then they are shipped here,” Dr. Bradley added.
For now, Dr. Bradley is urging dog owners to limit their time at dog parks and daycare centers. The vaccine isn’t a cure she says, but it guarantees a shorter, less severe illness.
Infected dogs can still be contagious even after they get over the flu. Dr. Bradley recommends they stay away from other dogs for about a month.