LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Inaugural Bark in the Boro, which is an event for dogs, was set to be held at Middle Tennessee State University this weekend. However, organizers announced it will be rescheduled to allow time for the current canine flu outbreak to subside.
The canine flu is highly contagious, and it can spread through droplets in the air or by coming in contact with surfaces the germs are living on. Your dog’s risk of catching it is mainly determined by where you live and your dog’s lifestyle.
Dr. Allen Craig, veterinarian at Lebanon Animal Hospital, told News 2 while he’s heard the canine flu is widespread in places like Mt. Juliet and Bowling Green, Kentucky, he hasn’t seen it too often in his office.
“If your dogs are around other dogs, that’s where they’re going to catch it,” Craig said. “If your dog stays at home and does not have exposure to other dogs, then they’re at a pretty insignificant risk.”
Symptoms of the canine flu include a cough, runny nose, fever, fatigue, and sometimes loss of appetite. Elderly dogs are at a greater risk of developing pneumonia from the canine flu, according to Craig. When dogs catch the illness, the veterinarian said they often don’t show symptoms for the first five to seven days, but they can still spread the infection to other dogs.
The main way to protect your pup is to get them vaccinated against the canine flu, especially if they’re elderly or spend time around other dogs. The H3N2 strain has caused the most trouble in Middle Tennessee, but Craig recommends vaccinating your dog against both strains of the canine flu.
Dog owners can breathe a sigh of relief; humans cannot catch the canine flu from their dogs.
“When we look at new diseases coming up, and that’s really the issue with this is this is not something we were dealing with 10 or 20 years ago, but [the main concern is] is this going to be the flu that is not only a problem with our dogs, but is it also going to be the flu that potentially jumps and eventually starts to affect people? That has not been shown at all,” Craig said.
While the canine flu cannot infect humans, it could infect some cats. There is currently not a vaccine to protect cats from the canine flu, but Craig said that’s not cause for concern.
Bark in the Boro has been rescheduled for April. To read more about the event, click here.