Local animal health clinic trying to prevent a dog flu outbreak

Chicago was hit hard recently with what many vets are calling a dog flu epidemic. And now, Indiana is reporting its first case of the virus.

Valparaiso reported the first case of canine influenza.

This year, this disease has been fatal for some and has infected over 1000 dogs, leaving many Hoosier veterinarians worried.

“If they've had exposure the dogs then can carry them and as they cough they could spew the particles out 20 feet or so,” said Dr. Martin Langhofer, Owner of Western Veterinarian Clinic in South Bend

The growing dog flu outbreak that hit Chicago this week is now spreading across the Midwest, according to vets.

And the vet team at Western Veterinary Clinic in South Bend is looking to protect their dogs from catching this virus.

Calls to clients are being made and information on prevention is being spread, in the hopes South Bend will stay ahead of this epidemic.

“This morning I did have a vet stop in and tell me a lady had actually came to our area and is buying a home and said her dog has been coughing and has been treated,” said Dr. Langhofer.

According to Dr. Langhofer, this flu virus is highly contagious and pet owners can unknowingly put their dogs at risk.

“So you go to your friends house and the dogs are barking you can take it home and infect your own dog,” he said.

While current medicines are mostly effective before infection, this clinic still encourages pet owners to utilize vaccines.

“We are recommending vaccines in our practice and we're notifying our clients to come in and get this vaccine,” said Dr. Langhofer.

Merck Animal Health released a response and prevention guide for the dog flu.

The organization recommends quarantining all dogs showing clinical signs of disease.

The virus can remain active up to 12 hours on hands and up to 24 hours on clothing according to the organization.

In order to prevent passing on the dormant disease, the organization also encourages cleaning contaminated clothing, hands, equipment, and surfaces with a good detergent first, followed by disinfectant.

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