Dog flu could become epidemic in Texas

HOUSTON - Our furry friends may be facing an epidemic!

Officials say a recent outbreak of dog flu in Florida and Georgia has now made its way to Texas, including two cases reported in Harris County.

"There was a big dog show in the South recently and a lot of dogs who went there kind of came back home and brought the dog flu back home with them," Dr. Jessica Parkerson from the Tanglewilde Vet Clinic said.

Vets say dog flu isn't contagious to humans, but it's highly contagious for pups.

Virtually all dogs exposed to this flu become infected and about 80 percent show signs of its symptoms within two to five days of being exposed to it.

Those symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and coughing.

"If your dog has any kind of lethargy, doesn't want to eat so well, maybe has a runny nose, sneezing and coughing-- these can be signs of respiratory disease, whether it be viral or bacterial," Parkerson said.

In its most severe form, dog flu can lead to very high fevers for your pooch and even pneumonia.

Because it's a virus, officials say antibiotics won't clear it up, but there is a vaccine for the dog flu.

"If your dog goes to doggie daycare, or to the dog park-- your dog might need to have a vaccination to protect him or her from this virus," the doctor said.

Most dogs can recover from canine flu within two to three weeks, but it can be fatal for some dogs.

"About 10 percent of the dogs might die after getting the virus, so protection's a good idea," Parkerson said.

That's why prevention is definitely the best cure!