SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Flu season is taking its toll in the South Bay, not only with people, but even their pets. Veterinarians are warning of a canine flu outbreak.
Vets stress it can’t be transmitted from dog-to-person.. But it can get on your clothes, and then be transmitted to another dog that way. Or more commonly, from one dog to another at places such as dog parks.
Nine-month old Maggie is a pit bull mix that shows plenty of personality as she plays in Raymond Gamma Dog Park in Campbell. Her owner, Malik Holmes, says he brought his new “best girl” home weeks ago, only now to here whispers from neighbors that sparked his first big worry..
“They’re saying there’s a flu going around for dogs, and stuff like that. And I’m scared mine’s gonna get injured, or catch the flu,” said Holmes.
Veterinarian Shadi Ireifej says a canine flu is sweeping the South Bay. His emergency clinic in Campbell confirmed it’s fourth case Wednesday night, to go along with 50 dogs showing flu-like symptoms such as coughing, over the past two weeks.
“We’ve never seen this. Doctors that have been here 10 years plus, they’ve never seen canine influenza period,” said Dr. Ireifej.
Two strains are present in California – H3N8 and H3N2. This map shows the at least one of the strains has been present for the past nine years. But both have exploded nationally since 2015.
“There must have been a canine entering the state and the Bay Area that was infected with the ah virus. And from that point on because it’s so contagious, just began to spread to other dogs. And now we’re seeing it,” Dr. Ireifej said.
At the Raymond Gamma Dog Park, some owners says they’ll be more cautious after learning of the canine flu outbreak..
“It’s our first time out since it’s been raining the past two days. And may head home after this,” said Mike Navarro, owner of a two year old German Sheppard-Lab mix named Jax.
Vets advise avoiding places such as dog parks and kennels to reduce the threat of infection. Also, don’t let your dog play with contaminated toys, or let them drink after other dogs from a public dish.. Get your dog a flu shot, and if sick, keep your pet home..
“I would hope that if people knew their dog was sick, they’d leave them at home,” said Navarro.
However, KTVU talked to a dog owner who says his pooch, “Romeo,” had been sick with flu symptoms a few days ago. So he kept the animal indoors until the illness past. But he has not taken the animal for a flu shot. Symptoms of the dog flu are similar to the human flu – sneezing coughing, lethargy, and a fever. Experts say the best thing is to get your pet do a vet and get it a flu shot.