Vets urging pet owners to take caution as canine flu appears in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Veterinarians are urging pet owners to take extra precautions following at least two deadly cases of canine flu in North Carolina.

One of the deaths was in the Triangle area and experts say both deaths were linked to a dog show in Florida and Georgia.

“Really the only cases we’ve seen in North Carolina at this point are dogs that were at shows and traveled back with it,” said Dr. Jennifer Schultz, an emergency veterinarian with Quartet Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Cary.

Schultz says symptoms to look out for include fatigue, sneezing, coughing and a fever. She advises owners who think their dogs are sick to keep them away from other dogs.

If your dog is healthy, your pet is still safe to visit dog parks and other public areas, according to experts. You’re just advised to be aware of the signs of sickness.

“It’s just like getting yourself to the doctor when you have symptoms,” said Bill Ebner, a dog-owner who was visiting the Oakwood Dog Park on Thursday. “The difference is that they can’t really tell you so you have to watch them really closely.”

Experts say in most cases, vaccines are considered the best protection from the canine flu. If your pet exhibits any symptoms of the flu, you’re asked to call your veterinarian immediately.

“I love my dogs very much so of course having my dog be sick is something to be concerned about,” said Maxwell Crino, a Raleigh dog-owner. “I’m new to the area so since this is the first time I’ve heard of it I definitely want to make sure I’m taking the right precautions to make sure my pet is going to be safe.”