Local dog shows could lead to canines coming down with flu

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - There is a spike in canine influenza across the United States and the Wichita Falls Animal Services Center wants you and your pets to be prepared.

It has made its way to many states, including Texas.

Dog shows are the cause of the recent outbreak.

The canines are catching it and it is spreading to the places they go.

Wichita Falls Animal Services Administrator, Katrena Mitchell, said it can end up in Texoma.

"There's always the possibility of bringing canine influenza to our area," Mitchell said. "We have a lot of people who take part in dog shows in Wichita Falls. Either they go to the confirmation trials, or to the agility trials. In fact, there's an agility trial this weekend. So the dogs that may have been exposed at these other bigger shows are back in our community."

Newschannel 6 reached out to a local veterinarian hospital for an interview, but they declined because it is something that is not currently affecting the area.

Mitchell said people need to take it seriously because of how easy it spreads.

"There is that prolonged exposure that if a dog has come by and coughed or sneezed, then that virus is on that surface," Mitchel said. "Whether it's at a motel you are traveling and staying at or anything like that. So you just never know."

She said there is an influenza vaccine for dogs that covers two different strains.

If your pet is low risk, it is probably not needed.

But if you have a dog that is around a lot of animals or has a health condition, it is something to consider with your vet.

Mitchell wants people to still enjoy their summer with their pets.

"It has not been seen in this area," Mitchell said. "It may not be seen in this area. It may be a matter of time. We don't know. The thing you need to do is educate yourself, become responsible, and have that conversation with your veterinarian."

If you think your dog has been exposed, Mitchell urges you to contact your vet immediately.

She added that you want to isolate you pet for about a month so they don't expose the flu to anyone else.

Other things you can do to keep your pets healthy is to make sure they are up to date on all their shots and are getting routine checkups.

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