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Dangerous Canine Influenza has reached Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  That dog flu you’ve been hearing about in the news has now reached Tennessee and the State Veterinarian wants you to know it can be deadly for your pet.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says there have now been four cases of dog flu reported in East Tennessee.

Dr. Charlie Hatcher is Tennessee’s State Verterinarian. He says the flu can be dangerous for older dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems. He details some of the symptoms pet owners should be watching for.

“He can have labored breathing, he can have coughing and sneezing, and they can get lethargic, go off feed. And at that point, that’s when they need to call their veterinarian and seek medical attention.”

Three of the East Tennessee dogs with the flu contacted it by way of a dog show they attended in Georgia. The fourth came from a pet shop. Doc Hatcher says it generally requires close contact for the virus to spread.

“Like the human flu it’s spread by respiratory secretions, drinking out of the same water bowl, nasal discharges, coughing and sneezing, aerosol; things like that.”

Officials say cats can also catch the virus. However there is no evidence that this particular dog flue can cause illness in humans.

If you’d like to know more about the outbreak of canine influenza in Tennessee, review the state Department of Agriculture’s public advisory.