Canine influenza outbreak reported in Los Angeles County

While we humans are worrying about COVID-19, pet owners are concerned about the canine flu. 

It is said to be very contagious and sadly, FOX 11's own Gigi Graciette knows all too well about that. 

We spoke with Gigi about two of her rescues.

"One of them may not make it. And, the other one is struggling," she said.

If you’ve followed Gigi over the years, you know how much of a pet lover she is and how dedicated she is to her pets. Gigi found both Miss Maywood and Casper while working on news stories and took them in. She’s had them for more than a decade and now, they’re struggling. They’re fighting the effects of the canine flu. 

The Los Angeles County Public Health says, "to date, this is the largest outbreak of the virus known as CIV H3N2 ever reported in LA County."

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Dog owner Greg Villa heard about the canine influenza and decided to not take any chances. 

He told us, "Actually, He was sick for a while and thought he had it. So, I got him vaccinated."

It’s a two-dose vaccine that Gigi didn’t get because her dogs had underlying conditions. The dogs also don't go to dog parks or boarding facilities, the locations most cited for transmission. However, she learned that the canine flu is airborne and can be caught on a simple walk or a visit to the vet.

Casper coughs and sneezes a lot. He got pneumonia as a result of the canine influenza and has to be treated with a nebulizer several times a day. 

"My little girl, Miss Maywood, who had canine influenza… it sent her into kidney failure and she may not make it," Gigi said.

The Los Angeles County Public Health says between July and October of this year, there were approximately 800 confirmed and suspected cases of the dog flu in the county. There were seven deaths. 

Most associated with attending boarding kennels or doggy daycares. There have also been cases connected with dog parks, groomers and veterinary clinics.

Since her dogs fell ill, she’s experienced how devastating the canine flu and how easily it’s spread. 

Gigi points out, "A dog can bark in his [another dog’s] face. He can catch it. They can sniff each other. He can catch it. It is extremely contagious."

Below are the possible warning signs:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Eye discharge
  • Reduced appetite

But, not all dogs will show signs of the illness. You can get more information from the CDC website, the LA County Public Health Department website and of course, you can check in with your veterinarian.

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