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North Jersey vets, pet owners worrying dog flu virus could surface here

Sick Dog

North Jersey vets, pet owners worrying dog flu virus could surface here

APRIL 18, 2015    LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2015, 10:57 AM

A canine flu outbreak has sickened many dogs in the Midwest, but whether the potentially deadly bug will make its way here is still anybody’s guess.

“It’s a hard question to answer but with today’s mobile society and people bringing their pets wherever they go, I’m concerned about that — that it could hit the West or East Coast,” said Dr. John DeVries, assistant director of the Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine says the virus has sickened at least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Recent tests from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have identified the strain as H3N2. Clinical assistant professor Keith Poulsen says it’s not yet known how effective current vaccines are against this strain, which is believed to have come from Asia.

He said an older strain, H3N8, has also been detected in the region.

Both viruses can cause persistent cough, runny nose and fever in dogs. Experts say a small percentage will develop more severe symptoms. The H3N2 infection has been associated with some deaths.

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