HOUSTON (KTRK) --A new strain of canine influenza, or "dog flu," is creeping closer to Houston. The dog flu hit Chicago and most recently veterinarians are seeing it in Austin.
"A boarding kennel or vet clinic, a bunch of dogs in there came down with signs associated with it," Veterinarian Randall Gallagher said. "It's pretty contagious."
At the Richmond Avenue Animal Hospital, employees are receiving multiple calls per day from dog owners asking about the new strain of dog flu.
"They've just been asking what the symptoms are, if it's contagious, if it's something they should protect their dogs against," one employee said.
The answer -- there are two known strains of the dog flu.
"Where we board our dog, you have to have a vaccination against it to board them there," Patti Johnston said.
Many kennels require dogs to be vaccinated against the older strain. There is a vaccine for the new strain, but not all animal clinics carry it yet.
"If you are taking your dog to be boarded or taking them to get groomed or a dog park, a vaccine is important," Gallagher said.
Gallagher said in the Chicago outbreak, five out of about 1,000 dogs died from the new strain of dog flu. Most dogs recover with rest and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.