Highly Contagious Virus Spreading Across US, Could Your Household Be At Risk?

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There’s a highly contagious virus spreading across the Western region of the United States, and those affected are having an extremely difficult time combating the symptoms, leaving many American families worried whether their household could be at risk.

Surprisingly, those infected aren’t people — they’re dogs. According to WOWK-TV, dog flu is spreading rapidly and veterinarians are seeing a distinct increase in the number of dogs suffering this winter season.

It has been reported that the virus spread so rapidly in one Chicago veterinary hospital, they were forced to refrain from taking more dogs to avoid contaminating others. Paws Chicago reportedly treated 300 sick dogs who tested positive for dog flu. Beth Lipton, a veterinarian for Public Health Seattle and King County, also revealed another reason the virus is spreading so rapidly.

“None of the dogs have immunity to fight it off, so you see large numbers of dogs getting ill when the virus starts to circulate,” said Lipton. “When dogs are going to daycare or dog parks or boarding overnight in kennel facilities, it can spread very rapidly.”

Since dogs can get sick just like humans, it’s very important for dog owners to pay attention to signs that may indicate a dog’s sickness. “So if your dog doesn’t eat well, misses a meal, if you see coughing, if you see lethargy, just being tired, moping around, it could be a sign of a fever,” vet Rob McMonigle said. “If you see that, give your local vet a call and schedule an appointment because they’ll need to get on some special medications for it.”

Although veterinarians have specified that the virus is rarely fatal, any dog with symptoms speculated to be a result of the virus should be treated as soon as possible. Death is rare but not impossible. Make sure you take your dog to a local pet hospital if you see any of these symptoms. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

[Image via CBS News]