US dog owners are being warned as the bird flu virus, H3N2, which has adapted to infect dogs, appears to be on the rise with concerns arising in Washington and Montana after King County Public Health says a suspected outbreak at the Holiday Kennels in Kent may have affected 80 to 90 dogs in December. Several dogs developed flu-like symptoms including runny noses and coughs, according to Fox35.com.
Speaking with the news outlet veterinary expert Dr. Davidow said: “Respiratory viruses are very contagious. We see kennel cough more often, which is much more common, and influenza looks a lot in some cases like kennel cough.”
Kennel cough has now been ruled out after officials learned that a dog who had stayed at the kennels in question had traveled to Georgia with its owners and had interaction with two other dogs that tested positive for H3N2. Test results are pending for the sick dogs at present.
Pet owners are being asked to remain vigilent in and around the areas currently at risk. While humans can’t contract H3N2, we sure can pass it along Dr Davidow confirmed to Fox35 that “It’s airborne, so if a dog coughs on you, coughs on your hands, you pet another dog you, could give it to another dog.”