FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A highly contagious strain of dog flu has spread up to North Texas.
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab confirmed two positive cases this week in Hood County.
TVMDL has confirmed seven total cases in the state. Four dogs have been infected in Harris County and one in Travis County.
The infection is transmitted from dog to dog, and spread easily through the air, shared food and water bowls or other surfaces.
Dr. Richard Gessel at the Acton Animal Hospital in Hood County said he has sent some suspected case samples in for testing, but has had no confirmed cases yet. Gessel said the symptoms include persistent coughing that doesn’t respond to antibiotics. In more serious cases, dogs will lose their appetite, have a runny nose, and act lethargic with high fever. He has starting to recommend vaccinations to some owners, especially those who may take their dogs to parks, stores or boarding facilities.
“Anywhere that you have a lot of dogs coming together,” is a risk he said. “The places people forget about are when you take your dog to the store, especially pet stores where there’s a lot of them together.”
Gessel said some clients have told him some boarding facilities are now requiring vaccinations for the flu. In his office, a vaccination runs about $60 and consists of two rounds of shots.
In a Fort Worth dog park Friday, few owners there had heard about the infection.
Eric Coons said he wasn’t going to take chances though that his new puppy Red would be able to avoid it.
“Honestly, after I heard this?” he said. “I’m probably going to go to the vet today or tomorrow, make an appointment and see what they say.”