Connecticut vets warn of new canine flu strain

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WFSB) — Connecticut veterinarians are warning dog owners to be on alert.

The state is in the midst of an especially dangerous canine flu season.

Canine flu has been around for decades, but a new strain is raising the stakes.

Only four dogs in Connecticut have tested positive so far, but doctors expect those numbers to grow, so every dog owner should know what to look for.

Dr. Edyta Hrynkiewicz of the Animal Hospital of Rocky Hill says this new strain is causing dogs to cough and sneeze initially, but sometimes symptoms are worsening to pneumonia and high fevers.

If left untreated it can be deadly.

“This is kind of the bigger, badder flu. The symptoms of this flu are just worse than that original flu we were always worried about,” said Hrynkiewicz.

Hrynkiewicz says even though the flu is spreading, there is no reason to panic.

There is an effective vaccine; just ask your vet if it’s right for your dog.

“If they’re interacting with other dogs, it’s a really good idea to get them vaccinated for the flu vaccine. Just like with humans, the flu vaccine is not a hundred percent effective so even if they happen to get sick from it, it will lessen their symptoms,” said Hrynkiewicz.

This strain is very contagious, so be especially careful if your dog socializes with other pooches.

But some good news, canine flu cannot be spread to people or other types of pets.