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Canine Influenza Virus Found In Florida For The First Time

With North Florida’s heat and humidity overheating is a normal summer health concern for dog owners.

But right now there is an unusual risk in letting your dog play outside where it could meet other dogs.

A dog flu virus has touched Florida for the very first time. This strain originated in South Korea and was first noted in the U.S. two years ago.

The outbreak was in the Midwest and this summer it’s Georgia and Florida dog owners who need to take precautions because now it’s in our backyards. This particular flu strain was responsible for over 1500 dog infections in Chicago in 2015.

Dozens of dog flu cases have been confirmed in Florida. The H3N2 strain was confirmed in dogs and is now being treated at UF’s vet school. The dog flu can be easily transferred and even clinics have to be very careful.

“It is very important for both veterinarians and dog owners in the state of Florida to have that very heightened awareness of the presence of this virus in the state and that it may be coming to their local community,” said Cynda Crawford from UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

It’s important as a dog owner that even you don’t transmit the disease. This can happen by sharing bones and toys and even by your hands and clothing. Proper hand hygiene is essential to stopping transmission of influenza virus.

Josslyn is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.