New Strain Of Dog Flu Spreads To The West

A confirmed case of the highly contagious H3N2 virus has been reported in Montana, and dogs in Washington state may also be infected.

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A vaccine for the new H3N2 virus, which is responsible for sickening more than 2,000 dogs, is available. pyotr021/iStock/Thinkstock
Chrissa Hardy

A new strain of dog flu that first reared its ugly head last spring in Chicago, Illinois, has spread to Montana and possibly Washington state, CBS News reports.

A dog in Montana has tested positive for the H3N2 virus, which is new to North America and highly contagious. Public health officials in Washington state suspect up to 90 dogs staying in a kennel near Seattle have been exposed as well, although further tests are needed to confirm whether it is, in fact, the new strain.

Scientists discovered the new strain back in April when a number of dogs fell ill in Chicago and surrounding areas. To date, more than 2,000 dogs in 24 states have been infected, including one shelter dog whose video of him hamming it up for the camera recently went viral.

Veterinarians say the flu strain is rarely fatal, and a vaccine become available in November. Pet owners are encouraged to contact their vet immediately if their dog shows signs of the following symptoms: coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite or exhaustion.

To read more about the dog flu, click here.

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