NC veterinarians warn of outbreak in dog flu cases in Durham, Moore counties

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Friday, April 21, 2023
Outbreak in dog flu cases reported in Durham, Moore counties
The signs of dog flu are cough, runny nose and fever as well as other respiratory problems.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Veterinarians are warning dog owners about a rise in canine influenza cases in Durham and Moore counties.

So far, all of the cases involve dogs that had been boarded or stayed at a day care facility within the past two weeks.

"She actually went to daycare last week and then they notified everyone there are cases of dog kennel cough or dog influenza going around, so they warned all of us that that might be something that was spreading throughout the daycare," Alice Wu said about her dog named Sarang. "It's kind of been concerning. She's never been sick before, so it's very worrying for me."

The most noticeable sign of dog flu is a dry, honking cough. Other symptoms include runny nose, fever, respiratory problems, lethargy, eye discharge, reduced appetite and low-grade fever.

Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia.

Dr. Jenny Bennett said they've recently seen a big increase in the number of kennel cough cases, which can be caused by influenza, at Urban Tails Veterinary Hospital.

"Influenza does tend to be seasonal, although we do tend to see it a little more in the winter and late summer months. So it's kind of interesting we're having an outbreak of it now. It is a very sporadic disease. It's not something we see a lot of," Bennett said.

For now, if you suspect your dog has been exposed, Bennett suggests isolation from other animals. The virus is highly contagious and can easily spread through direct contact, coughing and sneezing, contaminated surfaces and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs.

"While most of the transmission is nose to nose and being in closed spaces with other dogs, it can be transmitted by things like a dog has sniffed, or it can be transmitted on hands and clothes," she said.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence of transmission of dog flu from animals to people. There has never been a reported case of human infection with canine influenza.