Highly contagious dog flu hits Brooklyn

- "Sick as a dog" is an expression we hear all too often. But now, our pups are giving it a new meaning.

Two highly contagious strains of canine influenza are making their way around the United States. The H3N2 strain has landed in Brooklyn. So far, at least 14 dogs have tested positive.

"There were a lot of cases this year, close to 500 in California and Nevada already, so it was just a matter of time before it got here," said Dr. Yasmine Mortsakis, who runs New York Veterinary Practice. She said this outbreak isn't going anywhere because the strains are fairly new.

"So there's no natural immunity," Mortsakis said.

The flu is airborne. As the weather warms up and dogs get outdoors more to play, the concern is only heightened.

"What you're looking for is signs of coughing, nasal discharge, sneezing, them being very tired, not wanting to eat, not same energy level," Mortsakis said. "Any of those signs, you want to get into your vet right away. You don't want to sit on this."

The good news is that pups can get vaccinated, which provides some relief to dog owners we spoke to.

Dog owners who want to get the flu shot for their pets need to be mindful that the process takes time. Dr. Mortsakis said after your dog gets one shot it will need a booster two weeks later to be fully immune.

CDC: Key Facts about Canine Influenza

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