Outbreaks of dog flu have been reported in Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as in southwest Ohio and central coastal California. The virus is highly contagious and can spread quickly among dogs, as well as from contaminated food and water bowls and toys. Luckily, humans cannot catch dog flu. However, Dr. Michael Topper, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, warns that "almost all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected."
Dogs infected with canine influenza exhibit signs similar to people with the flu--coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, lethargy, a fever and/or a reduced appetite. Some may vomit or have diarrhea. Most dogs recover from the illness in two to three weeks, but 10 percent die from it. Concerned pet owners are encouraged to take their dog to the vet to get a proper diagnosis and, if necessary, treatment such as antibiotics and "fluid therapy."