3 Michigan dogs diagnosed with 'dog flu'

(KEVN, CNN, amateur photos)

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Local veterinarians are warning pet owners to be on the lookout for symptoms of ''dog flu,'' after three cases were confirmed in Michigan.

Canine influenza is highly contagious. It can only be spread from dog-to-dog and not dog-to-human or vice versa. Veterinarians say pet owners need to be aware of what to look for.

Dr. Melissa Holahan is a Critical Care Specialist at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills. She says the best thing pet owners can do is to pay attention to your dog.

"Anything out of the ordinary for your pet should be something to trigger to call your vet and ask for advice," said Holahan.

Some of the signs to look out for are cough, runny nose, sneezing and a decrease in appetite but Dr. Holahan says not all dogs will show signs of the illness.

"For the flu itself, there are very minimal signs and many of the patients (dogs) might not even come into the hospital itself," said Holahan.

While it might sound a little scary at first, Dr. Holahan says there's no need to worry but you do need to be careful. Especially at doggie day care, dog parks or kennels. She says those places are often considered high risk.

"Everybody's first reaction is fear. But at this point there have been only three cases documented in Michigan," said  Holahan.

Experts say all dogs are equally at risk but if your dog has a flat snout like a Pug, French Bulldog or Pekingese - they might have a tougher time dealing with the flu because of how their respiratory tract is designed.

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