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DAYTON, Ohio - As humans battle the flu this year, dog owners are also being told that their pets could become ill with their version of influenza, no matter what time of the year.
As a result some veterinarians are taking steps to educate pet owners about how they can protect their furry friends, WHIO reported.
At Dayton South Veterinary Clinic, the first thing pet owners see when they enter the facility is a sign that lists the symptoms of dog flu.
It then asks owners not to go any further if their pets have any of the symptoms to avoid infecting other animals with the virus.
Canine influenza is a virus that is highly contagious, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.
Like the human version of the flu, there are different strains, according to AVMF.
It can be transmitted via coughing, barking or sneezing and dogs who visit kennels, groomers, animal daycares or shelters are at risk of picking up the virus.
The strain called H3N8 can stay viable for up to 48 hours, with an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with symptoms usually coming 2 to 3 days after exposure, according to AVMF.
In addition, Dr. Daniel Brauer at the clinic insists that his patients make sure their dogs get their annual flu shots.
“There's even been some concerned cases from a doggy daycare center here in Dayton, in the Dayton area,” he said. “People are coming in now that were associated with that daycare center to have their pets vaccinated, because they're worried.”
Unlike human flu, dog flu is year round, but recently a strand of avian flu spreads to dogs in the U.S., and there’s an uptick in cases nationwide.
“If the pets are unvaccinated, you definitely don't want to take them to daycare centers, kennels,” Brauer said.
“Your pet just needs to sniff it, and they will get it if they’re not vaccinated,” Brauer told WHIO.