Officials warn of ‘dog flu’ in Montgomery County after two canine deaths

Researchers did find bacteria less common in people in the dog owners\' mouths after their dogs kissed them. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Park officials in Montgomery County are warning people about canine influenza, or dog flu, after the illness led to the deaths of two area dogs.

Montgomery Parks wants park visitors to take precautions to protect man’s best friend, after six dogs became sick and two died from dog flu, according to ABC7. Dog flu can be spread through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects, and through people moving between infected and uninfected dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no evidence that dog flu can infect humans, the CDC says.

“The number of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small,” according to the CDC. “Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no symptoms), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. Although this is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection, about 80 percent of dogs will have a mild form of disease.”

Montgomery Parks recommends dog owners and dog park users take note of symptoms such as cough, runny nose and fever, and see a veterinarian if their dog seems sick.

Dog flu causes an acute respiratory infection that can be highly contagious, according to officials. A mild form of the flu results in a cough, but a more severe respiratory disease can cause death, officials add.

There are five Montgomery Parks dog parks.

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