Pet owners beware: dog flu exists and it’s spreading. At least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana were infected in the last month, according to research from the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University.
Doctors at the two schools identified the virus as a strain of H3N2, a branch of the disease commonly found in Chinese and South Korean dog populations. The virus is not believed to spread to humans.
“It’s believed that the H3N2 strain was introduced here from Asia, but how it happened is not known,” said Keith Poulsen, a University of Wisconsin veterinarian, in a press release.
Veterinarians suggest pet owners largely approach dog flu the way they approach human influenza. Dogs should be vaccinated and avoid contact with other dogs in areas with flu outbreaks. Additionally, dogs’ human handlers should wash their hands before touching other dogs.