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Veterinarians warning dog owners about flu virus affecting pets in 28 states

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ROANOKE, Va. – Veterinarians across the country are warning dog owners of a fast-spreading disease that is affecting pets around the United States.

According to WSLS, the dog flu is a contagious disease that spreads easily in social settings like dog shows, kennels and parks. WSLS reports that it is affecting dogs in 28 states.

“It grows in the body over a two to four-day period before the dog shows signs,” Charlotte Hatch, with Valley Animal Hospital, said. “During that period, the dog can be transmitting that disease to others before it even shows signs. So, it’s a virus that spreads very rapidly.”

NPR reports that canine influenza H3N2 arrived from Korea last spring and has since spread across much of the United States.

The virus usually causes a mild illness in most dogs, but it can lead to canine pneumonia. Dogs can be contagious with H3N2 for about three weeks, even if they don’t show any symptoms.

Mild symptoms include cough, loss of appetite and fatigue. According to NPR, dogs with these symptoms usually recover on their own.

More severe cases of the dog flu include high fevers, breathing problems and pneumonia.