Dog Flu

Dr. Audrey Cook, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Texas A&M University, said this strain of canine flu hasn't responded to existing vaccines.

"There is no recognized treatment for the virus itself," she said. "Usually treatment consists of supportive care."

The Midwestern outbreak sickened thousands of dogs and killed at least eight in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. It is unknown how the virus came to the United States, but Dr. Cook says it probably traveled with an animal from East Asia. It spreads because it's airborne.

"When a dog coughs it fills the air with infectious virus particles, and if another dog is in that air space and infections particle land on the nose, eyes or mouth, that dog could get the infection," Dr. Cook said.

Symptoms include cough, fever, loss of appetite and laziness.

"I would stress that if people are concerned about their dog they should reach out to their regular vet as soon as they can and not just sit and watch the dog get sicker," Dr. Cook said.

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