Dog flu on the rise among pets

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WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WFSB) We've heard how bad this flu season has been for humans, now some veterinarians say it has also been RUFF for dogs.

Pedro Madera says he doesn't think twice about vaccinating his two terriers and pomeranian for canine influenza or dog flu. "We vaccinate our animals. We love our animals -- make sure nothing happens to them," Madera said.

Doctor Howard Asher says they are seeing more cases this year, urging their clients to vaccinate their dogs. "We do see a lot of clients coming in asking for the flu vaccine, knowing that the flu virus is out there and potentially harmful," he said.

Dr. Asher says the vaccine protects against the two known strains. "There are two strains out there at this point that we are seeing in Connecticut. One is an older one from 2004 and a newer one that we just saw recently," he said.

He says while it may be hard to detect, symptoms include runny eyes, coughing and a discolored discharge from the nose. "They may be a little more tired. They may not be eating and they may have a fever," Dr. Asher said.

Dr. Asher says while their are many similarities to the human flu virus, he says the dog flu is something they see year-round. So while there is no need for flu fear, he says it's something all dog owners should look into. "Definitely recommend talking to your veterinarian, talking to them about getting the vaccine. If it should be given to their pets, could be dependent on their lifestyle," he said.