LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro  Animal Services says they are dealing with an outbreak of dog flu. 

LMAS says at least four of its shelter dogs have tested positive for the H3N2 virus, which is highly contagious. The shelter is waiting for the results of four other tests. 

LMAS is working to formulate a plan to best handle this issue and expects to release details on Monday. 

The shelter began vaccinating all of its shelter dogs for both strains of the dog flu June 20. And as a precaution, LMAS began treating all of its dogs because they say the flu can remain dormant in a dog's system for about three days before they show any symptoms.

Both the LMAS Animal House Adoption Center and LMAS Animal Care Center will continue to operate under regular business hours over the weekend. 

The shelter is discouraging community members from picking up strays and putting them at risk of spreading the virus to other pets. They ask that the public report strays to LMAS at (502)473-PETS. 

LMAS encourages pet owners to vaccinate their pets and ask their veterinarians about risks and symptoms. 

What pet owners should know: 

  • Canine Influenza or “Dog Flu” is a highly contagious virus that can affect dogs and cats of any breed, age, sex or health status. 
  • Almost ALL dogs exposed to the virus will become infected and the majority of dogs (80% of infected dogs) will develop flu symptoms. Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks.
  • The virus travels from infected dogs to non-infected dogs and cats through: Direct contact, coughing, barking, sneezing, contaminated objects including clothing, surfaces, collars, leashes and food/water bowls. 
  • Dogs that socialize with other dogs are at greater risk (dog parks, grooming facilities, etc.)

Symptoms for both dogs and cats: 

Prevention tips from LMAS:: 

  • Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s health and if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your dog. The vaccine is a two-part series given two weeks apart.
  • At this time there is no vaccine for cats.
  • Avoid exposing your dog or cat to obviously sick dogs.
  • Avoid taking your dog to areas where dogs gather (dog parks, grooming facilities, boarding kennels, etc.).
  • If your dog or cat is showing signs of illness, isolate it from other animals and seek veterinary care.
  • Wash your hands after handling any animal.
  • Clean all surfaces with disinfectants.
  • Do not share toys between healthy and obviously sick animals.

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