Help Me Hank investigates how Metro Detroit kennels are battling spread of canine influenza

Help Me Hank investigates canine influenza outbreak

DETROIT - Local 4 has been tracking the flu epidemic for the last several weeks, but now, veterinarians are offering critical advice to keep dogs safe.

Help Me Hank visited Metro Detroit dog kennels and daycares with hidden cameras rolling to see how they're working to keep pets healthy.

You can watch video from the hidden camera investigation above.

The sickness is spreading rapidly as dogs are becoming ill with canine influenza. They can spread it to each other, which might have pet owners wondering how dog daycares and kennels are handling the epidemic.

Symptoms of canine influenza include fever, lethargic behavior, coughing and discharge from the eyes or nose. It isn't the common "kennel cough" most people hear about.

"This is not just the same coughing (covered by) vaccines we always give your dog," said Dr. Drew Snider, of Snider Veterinary Services. "So don't just assume that you're covered."

Just because a dog has received all of its shots doesn't mean they're safe from the flu.

There have been cases reported all over Metro Detroit, including at dog parks such as Shinola Dog Park in Midtown. Pet owners are on alert, but not preventing their dogs from playing with other dogs.

The symptoms can become more severe if left untreated.

When Help Me Hank visited daycares, the managers all said they haven't had any influenza outbreaks so far. They revealed what's being done to keep the places safe, clean and healthy for dogs.

Dog daycares have become hot spots for puppies, but are they safe? Snider said the recent outbreak shouldn't prevent owners from dropping their dogs off at daycare.

But owners should be asking questions. Has the daycare had any flu cases? What's being done to keep the dogs safe? Are pet parents notified if there is an outbreak?

The Rexpointe Kennel in Troy proactively closed in July because of the virus. The kennel has now reopened and, like many, staff members are on the lookout for any possible health issues that could affect all the dogs inside.

Snider said the best thing owners can do is talk with a veterinarian, daycare staff members and groomers to learn what's being done to keep dogs safe and what they should do to keep dogs healthy.

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