A reader asked that I research and report on a new fast-spreading virus causing "dog flu." The information I located was first dated Sept. 27 out of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine as reported by ABC News. The news item quotes Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University, as saying, "the disease is only deadly in rare cases - about 10 percent in puppies and old dogs - but is of concern because it is spreading rapidly."
The symptoms of the disease include coughing and sneezing. The news item quotes a Seattle veterinarian Dr. Kenneth McKim as having recently treated some dogs with "kennel cough," but said the new virus is different. "It's a more severe disease (with) high fever," McKim said. "It's got more complications with pneumonia and congestion."
This news article states that "dog flu" is like most flu viruses, it can be spread by air, as well as by contact, and the populations of dogs most at risk are those in shelters, kennels, boarding operations or other situations where a lot of dogs are housed under one roof, according to Dr.Crawford. It can be spread in parks where dogs are allowed to play and socialize. It was first noticed at the greyhound race tracks in Florida, but has been diagnosed in seven states in the last month. This virus is believed to have mutated from an equine influenza strain.