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New strain of dog flu concerns holiday travelers

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 19:05:26-05

TULSA -- If you're planning to take your dog out of state for the holidays, you may want to check with your veterinarian first. 

In many parts of the country, a strain of canine influenza, or dog flu, called H3N2 is sickening pets. While there are no confirmed cases in Oklahoma, health officials are keeping a close watch.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an H3N2 outbreak earlier this year in the Chicago area where hundreds of dogs showed symptoms of the contagious respiratory disease. Pet owners in several other states also reported similar symptoms that included runny nose, cough and fever. 

Many veterinarians, including Ed Gilsleider of Animal Medical Center in Claremore, said they're happy to give concerned pet owners some reassurance if they plan to leave the state. 

"We will call," Gilsleider said. "One of my technicians will call that state veterinarian office, and we'll get an update about what's there and what we need to be concerned about."

A vaccine is available for the dog flu, but Gilsleider said he and many vets in Oklahoma do not keep it stocked because there's such a low risk right now. 

He, however, said doctors can get the vaccine quickly if any pet owners are interested. 

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