Dog Flu now confirmed in Texas

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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A warning for pet owners - A highly contagious strain of the dog flu has been confirmed in Texas.

Dr. Val Hartwick at Tabor Road Vet Hospital in Bryan hasn't seen any dogs with the flu in our area yet, but she says she won't be shocked when they start coming in.

"It's extremely contagious and very easy to transmit so it's only a matter of time before we see it in the Brazos Valley."

The new canine flu strain, called H3N2 has sickened 2,000 dogs in dozens of states. The most recently confirmed case in Texas was in Austin.

Dr. Hartwick says, "It usually starts with sneezing. Nasal discharge. The hallmark feature of it is that they have a very significant cough such that it keeps the owners up at night and it makes the dogs gag they cough so much."

To reduce your dog's chances of getting H3N2, keep your pet away from dogs you don't know, especially strays and most importantly, get your dog vaccinated if you haven't already.

"Dogs that travel, especially to metropolitan areas, those dogs are at risk. Of course we're here in Aggieland and all of these students are here and they come from different places and they take their dogs home and then they come back, so because we are a traveling community, I feel sure that it will get here eventually."

Dog Flu isn't necessarily deadly on it's own, but if your dog is old or has health problems already, it could become more serious.

It's important to note though, the human members of your family aren't in any danger.

"There's no evidence at this time that the virus can be transmitted to people at all."

This strain of the dog flu in particular spreads so easily because a dog could be infected, but not show symptoms for several days. The owner doesn't know their pet needs to be kept away from other animals.