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Dog flu in Mid-Michigan

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An outbreak of dog flu shut down the Saginaw Animal Care Center last week. They should re-open today. Even so, Mid-Michigan pet parents need to be on alert. Canine Influenza is highly contagious.

Just like humans, dogs have no natural immunity to the flu. Which is why Saginaw Animal Care had to shut down. Staff had to sanitize the building.

"Ahead of this we are trying to contain it, make sure it didn't get out to the public," says Lisa Stoffel, the center's director, "We haven't had any reports of any dogs that have visited here, having the symptoms."

Since 2015, a new strain of the canine flu has hit 40 states. I recently spok with Carmen Rustenbeck , of the Boarding & Pet Services Association, about the dogs at highest risk.

"Be careful with social dogs at the dog park or doggie daycare, or who go to kennels, or are in contact with lots of other dogs, " Rustenbeck says.

To be clear, dog flu is not the same as kennel cough.

"They are two different viruses," Rustenbeck says, "But both present with a cough and similar symptoms, But dog flu will also show a runny nose, possibly a fever. Your dog will be lethargic. Dog flu symptoms usually last much longer, too. "

Just as with kennel cough, however, there is a dog flu vaccine.

Saginaw Animal Care Center warns if you have visited in the last two to three weeks, look out for flu-like symptoms in your dog.

To learn more about dog flu, you can visit dogflu.com. The site has a lot of information.

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