FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Canine influenza, as the name suggests, is specific to dogs, is very contagious, and causes upper respiratory symptoms like nasal discharge and cough. It usually makes your pup tired and can be deadly.

“Canine influenza is a virus that doesn’t pop up commonly to us. We have confirmation of two separate seemingly unrelated cases in the Greater Nashville area,” said Dr. Katie Conklin, Medical Support Director at My Pets Wellness in West Haven.

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Unlike influenza in people, canine influenza isn’t a seasonal occurrence which is why most vets don’t regularly discuss the risks with pet owners.

“These outbreaks happen very limitedly so most veterinarians, myself included, don’t recommend this as part of a core vaccine profile,” Conklin said. “So I would say many, many, if not most animals in the Greater Nashville area are currently not vaccinated.”

Conklin added, “In an unvaccinated population of this magnitude, this will spread like wildfire.”

Conklin points to the current outbreak in Alabama as an example of what can happen in the area. “Birmingham, Alabama is dealing with an outbreak right now that started a month ago. Their humane society shelters are all still closed.”

The good news is there’s a preventive treatment in the form of a vaccine that has been on the market for upwards of 15 years and protects against both strains circulating.

“Vaccination is truly the best thing we can do to try to curb that risk to everybody,” Conklin said.

If your dog already seems sick, you’re urged to contact your vet immediately.

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For a limited time, My Pets Wellness is offering vaccines for just $24 a shot which is 60% off the normal cost. The special runs through September 9th.