Amarillo, TX - H3N2, commonly known as dog flu, began popping up last spring in the mid-west. Dog flu has sickened more than 1,500 pets across the nation, and has now been confirmed in Texas.
"It's just another contagious disease that we need to be careful about," said local veterinarian Dr. Merton Pearson.
The dog flu is similar to the human flu, symptoms include coughing, weakness, lack of appetite, and fever.
"If you put all the dogs in the same place like a kennel, a grooming facility, a dog park --wherever you're grouping them together from different place -- then they will share bugs," said Pearson. "It's just one of the dangers of taking your dog to those kinds of places."
Human's can't contract the virus, but they can spread it to healthy dogs after coming in close contact with an infected dog. Good hygiene commonly stops the dog flu before it begins, just washing your hands can go a long way in keeping your dog safe.
Dr. Pearson says while the virus is highly contagious and dangerous, he has not seen any cases in the Panhandle, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Vaccines made to fight this new strain became available in November, and prompted some pet owners to be proactive.
"It's a life style choice vaccine, not a core vaccine," said Pearson.