GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan officials confirm three cases of canine flu in the state including two in Kent County.
Jennifer Holton of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed three cases of H3N2 canine influenza in the state. Two of the cases are in Kent County and one case is in Macomb County.
“Right now, it’s something that we’re not terribly concerned about , but we’re watching it to see what’s going to happen,” said Dr. Katie Carron, an Associate Vet at the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming.
She said dog flu is in a lot of ways like people flu.
“You can have mild version of it, which most animals do, which is same thing you and I would expect. Cough, fever, lethargy, discharge from the nose or eyes,” she explained. “You can also have more severe cases and that is like people who need to have to be hospitalized because they have pneumonia. Those are the more concerning ones. Dogs like that might be breathing heavier or even their breathing may slow down and they act just really, really sick. Those are animals that need to get to emergency care right away.”
Holton says most dogs recover in two to three weeks.
Experts recommend dog owners avoid areas where other dogs may interact, like dog parks.
“If you are a person who takes your dog to boarding or grooming or a dog park, you may be more at risk. But even if you interact with a dog on the street, that may be a concern too. If your dog is sick, you shouldn’t take it anywhere and of course you should immediately contact your veterinarian,” Carron said.
According to the Associated Press, the condition is not contagious to humans, but a person who’s been in contact with a dog carrying the virus can inadvertently spread it to another dog. Officials recommend hand-washing after petting a dog to prevent the spread.
“In some cases it has been fatal, but not in most cases,” Carron said. “The majority of pets who get this are going to get the mild form of the disease.”
If you are concerned your dog may have the canine flu, contact your local veterinarian.
Editor’s Note: It was originally reported there were two cases in Grand Rapids, but there are two confirmed cases in Kent County.