Resurgence of dog flu putting Chicago-area pets at risk

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 NEWS) - The dog flu is making a comeback in the Chicago area, and veterinarians are urging dog owners to get their pets vaccinated.

“We are still seeing cases of the dog flu that have been persistent even up until this day,” said Dr. Jennifer Herring, and emergency and critical care specialist at the Veterinary Specialist Center in Buffalo Grove. “So, we actually are seeing an increased risk of the flu now within the last month or so.”

Last summer the canine flu swept through Chicago sickening 1000 dogs. It then spread to other parts of the country.  The number of cases is significantly less this year, but with there's a need for pets to get another shot.

“So it's going to be really important for pet owners to protect themselves when they're out there, so anybody who goes to a lot of dog parks, doggy daycare's, hospitals, any boarding facilities things like that should really think about vaccination,” Dr. Herring said.

She warns that once dogs get sick it's too late to get them vaccinated. At that point the illness will just have to run its course, just like when people get the flu.

“I didn't even know there was a vaccination available,” said dog owner Steve Brand.

He said he worries about the flu in general, but his vet said Max wasn't an at-risk dog.

“We keep him in the yard. So he doesn't do a lot of the forest preserves or where a lot of other dogs go, so we weren't too concerned with him getting it, we don't board him or anything like that,” Brand said.

Symptoms are often similar to kennel cough, but more severe. Dogs often appear lethargic and can have a fever and they often have eye or nose secretions.