LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Veterinarians are urging all pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated against the canine influenza because the virus can easily be spread at boarding facilities, groomers and at dog parks.

Canine influenza is a relatively new virus that has been prevalent in larger cities, but the virus has since spread around the country.

“It's a scary thing, so it's something to take seriously now that we've seen it in Louisville,” said Dr. Banks Douglass at Chenoweth Animal Hospital.

So far, veterinarians said there have been 20 unconfirmed cases, three confirmed and one death from the dog flu in the area.

In fact, Dr. Douglass said most people are unaware of the virus, and it's important to recognize the symptoms.

“Sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, generally, you'll even have coughing that persists up to three weeks even in the face of antibiotics and cough suppressants,” Dr. Douglass said.

If it's bad enough, Dr. Douglass said it can become pneumonia, which could be deadly. Dogs can spread the virus anywhere they are face-to-face with other dogs.

“Generally, every dog that comes in contact with this influenza strain is going to have the disease,” Dr. Douglass said.

He says 80 percent will show symptoms while the other 20 will be unaffected. That's why veterinarians say the vaccine is so important, as well as the booster three weeks later.

Tuesday, June 20 has been designated as dog flu day. On that day, participating local veterinarians, including Chenoweth Animal Hospital, will be providing the vaccine at a discounted price.

“It's important to try and be proactive and try and keep your dog from getting something like this instead of waiting for it to happen,” Dr. Douglass said.

For more information on the dog flu, click here.

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