How to protect your pet from the dog flu

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)--- The next time you take your pup in for a check up, you may want to considers a flu vaccine.

"It is definitely a disease that is spread between dogs," associate veterinarian Allison Crow said.

There are two strains of canine influenza currently, and the Animal Clinic of North Topeka offers a vaccine to protect against both.

"So we felt as a practice that we wanted to be ahead of it and not behind it," owner Bryan Stancliffe said.

Crow said the vaccine is called a killed vaccine, which means pet owners do not have to worry about it getting their dog sick.

"There's zero chance that you could pick up the flu from the vaccine," she explained.

Stancliffe said possible symptoms are easy to spot.

"Upper respiratory signs, coughing, gagging, changes in their breathing pattern. They can spike a fever where they're going to act lethargic and a little bit depressed," he said.

Experts said dogs who are around other animals are at most risk.

"Your more social animals, the ones that go to the dog daycare, that go to the park, that are around a lot of other dogs," Crow added.

Julie Castaneda, owner of Dog Day Afternoon, said dogs share a lot of the same things, and said it's not too different from a child daycare.

"They're drinking from the same buckets. They're sharing the same toys. They're touching the same handlers who are touching the other dogs," she explained.

However she said they keep a close eye on their furry visitors.

"We will monitor that dog for a little bit of time. If the cough continues, we'll call the owner and ask them to pick them up, keep them home until they don't cough anymore," she explained.

While Castaneda hasn't seen any victims of the dog flu yet, she said it's best to protect your dog and others around it.

"It is a real threat in terms of business to us," she said.

If you are concerned the best thing to do is contact your local veterinarian.

Experts also note that pet owners who have the flu virus cannot get their dogs sick.