Dog Flu

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Across the country puppies are sniffling sneezing and coughing. They've caught dog flu, and it's spreading steadily.

It's a new virus that has popped up in nine states. So far there are no documented cases in Illinois or Wisconsin. But it's possible it could be here in some other form already.

"They come from horses. One from wild birds transfers to different species." Doctor Patricia Holm with Auburn Animal Clinic says dog flu is highly contagious - because animals do not have immunity built up to the virus. Plus there's no vaccine developed that can ward off the flu.

But Dr. Holm says we shouldn't panic. Many symptoms of dog flu are treatable. "We use medications to prevent pneumonia and meds to control symptoms."

And in most cases it will not kill our furry friends. "Just like humans - the elderly, babies, ones that don't have strong enough immune systems that are weak anyway are going to get the sickest," says Dr. Holm.

Symptoms include a runny nose, cough and fever. We should bring our dogs to the veterinarian if they look sick because the flu can develop into pneumonia.