Dog Flu Spreading: Number Of Canine Flu Cases Escalates In Illinois, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, More

Heather Tooley

Several cases of the dog flu spreading around the nation continues to rise. As Inquisitr wrote last month, over a 1,000 cases were reported in Chicago, and the first case of it happened in Texas last week. Now more incidences of the canine flu are hitting animals, with one in Atlanta and another in Ohio testing positive this week, CNN reports.

Cornell University says that the dog flu spreading is happening in Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York.

The dog flu consists of two viruses called H3N8 and A H3N2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it only affects animals, not humans.

Some signs of dog flu are similar symptoms seen in humans when they get the flu -- fever, coughing, feeling lethargic, runny nose, and lost appetite.

Since this is a viral disease, there's no real cure for it. What can be done, however, is getting dogs the right care to help "boost" their immunity. Antibiotics can be prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection is diagnosed. A vaccine in the U.S. only treats H3N8. The latest outbreak of dog flu spreading is H3N2 and it's unknown how effective the H3N8 vaccine works for this.

USA Today further reports that the dog flu has spread in other parts of the country, such as Alabama, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa, and Indiana. The news source received an email from Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He reveals that it's estimated several thousand dogs have been affected by the virus, but that number isn't over 10,000 at this point.

Poulsen is working with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Cornell University -- and others -- to study H3N2. They've also formed a group called National Canine Influenza Task Force.

Poulsen said in spite of the dog flu spreading, only two to three percent of canines affected have died from it. This is the "short-term" answer for now, he cautions. He adds that pet owners should be concerned about the health of their dogs regarding the flu, but not excessively more than usual when it comes to their well-being. Dogs that tend to go to boarding facilities, dog parks, or other areas where they're around multiple dogs have the highest risk of catching the dog flu; they should definitely be vaccinated. Other tips in preventing the dog flu from spreading more is to keep dogs on a leash, away from sick dogs, and keep dogs in epidemic areas at home.

[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]