Until Wednesday, most dog owners at the Flying Cloud Dog Park in Eden Prairie, Minn. had never heard of the dog flu.
Meanwhile, BluePearl veterinarian Tracy Julius and other vets in Minnesota are keeping an eye out for the virus that has killed a few dogs in Chicago and sickened more than 1,000. It has also spread into Wisconsin. A case has yet to be reported in Minnesota.
"We see it every few years where we have an outbreak in a concentrated area. It goes down after a few weeks, and then we don't see it again for a few years. So it's pretty uncommon," Julius said.
What to look for
Julius said the dog flu is highly contagious and is typically transmitted through close, nose-to-nose contact with other dogs, often at boarding facilities or doggy day cares. The symptoms mimic the human flu: coughing, fever, feeling lethargic and decreased appetite.
"The good news is, most dogs, if exposed, not all dogs get sick, and if they get sick, most signs are generally mild," Julius said.
Vets say the dogs that become seriously ill often get pneumonia.
The dog flu cannot be spread to humans, but it's still possible for humans to spread the germs, so it's a good idea to wash your hands and keep areas clean around your home.