Waco: Your dog can get the flu, too, local veterinarian says

(Photo by Rhyan Henson)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Dogs can get flu, too, but fortunately a vaccine is available to protect them against K9 influenza.

The virus that causes the flu in dogs was first identified in 2004 and a vaccine was approved five years later in 2009.

Dog flu symptoms are similar to human flu symptoms.

“Most dogs will just have a runny nose, maybe some sneezing or mild coughing,” said Dr. Kristen Dodson, a veterinarian at Hewitt Veterinary Hospital.

But in severe cases dogs can develop high fevers and pneumonia.

Vaccination typically costs $20 to $30, Dodson said.

"It requires one shot and another three weeks later…then an annual booster,” she said.

“Just like the human flu shot it isn't 100 percent effective but it can decrease the severity of the flu,” she said.

No cases of dog flu have been reported locally, but some kennels and animal hospitals are requiring that dogs be vaccinated before they’re boarded.

“We recommend flu vaccines for boarders; as well as dogs that go to doggy daycare, pet shows or places where there are a lot of other dogs," Dodson said.

"When dogs are in confined spaces they can sometimes get stressed, which weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible."

Dodson said many dogs have never been exposed to K9 flu, also making them more susceptible to the virus.