Health officials confirm cases of canine influenza - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Health officials confirm cases of canine influenza

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DeLand, Florida -

Florida health officials say they have confirmed at least a dozen cases of canine influenza.

It is also known as the dog flu.

The H3N2 virus is believed to have spread last month at dog shows in Florida and Georgia.

Stephanie Manginelli is proud of her French mastiffs. They won numerous top awards at last weekend's show.

But several dogs apparently took home something else, the dog flu. 

Stephanie's dogs seem healthy, but the vet tech decided to vaccinate them anyway.

"We gave her vaccine today and her next show in a couple of weeks she'll be nice and protected," said Stephanie.

The virus first appeared in the United States two years ago, with over a thousand confirmed cases in the Chicago-area. At least five dogs died. The H3N2 strain has since appeared in thirty states. The illness is rarely fatal but causes sneezing, coughing and nasal discharge.

Melissa Lohsen is a vet tech at a clinic in DeLand. She says it's highly contagious.

When asks about which pet owners need to worry about...

"Any pet owners that are bringing their dogs to dog parks, grooming facilities, boarding facilities, dog shows," said Lohsen.

On Thursday, scientists at the University of Florida urged dog owners to consider getting their pets vaccinated.

But skeptics say the alarm is overstated. 

Dana Scott, of "Dogs Naturally" magazine, thinks pets are over-medicated and drug companies profit. 

"I think when it comes to vaccination what you really need to think about is where are these reports coming from. it's basically the vaccine manufacturer keeping track of these diseases," said Scott.  

The American Veterinary Medical Association says pet owners need to talk to their vets to see if their dogs are part of that high risk group.

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