Columbia, SC (WTLX) - Dogs are catching the flu in South Carolina and veterinarians in the Midlands are recommending you vaccinating your four-legged friend.
This isn't the first time the flu has been around but the most recent epidemic has been traced back to a dog show in the state of Florida. Since then the virus has spread to other parts of the United States, including South Carolina.
Marty Mitchell is a dog owner in Columbia who often takes her dog Rivers to the park.
"We have a very special close relationship," laughed Mitchell. "I bring my dog and he loves to come out here. He's a very social dog."
With reports of the dog flu spreading, Mitchell is now being more careful where she takes her dog.
"Everyone who brings their dog out here, they're very devoted to their dogs," said Mitchell. "We try to do the best for them and take them to the vets. I feel very comfortable out here with them. Obviously since this flu is apparently rampant, he needs to be immunized as well as he can be."
Dr. Rebecca Laster is a veterinarian at the Columbia Animal Center. She says that the k-nine flu is very similar to the one people catch.
"It's contact with someone else that has been exposed to it and to the virus and has it in their system," said Laster.
The flu has not reached Laster's adoption center but they are looking into if they need to vaccinate the dogs they have to protect them from the potential virus. She says you need to think about if your four-legged friend is a risk.
"It's important. It's something if you take your dog out to the dog park or the groomer or especially if you go to dog shows, then this is something that I would highly, highly recommend that you put on your priority list."
Mitchell says this is a matter of being careful for her special friend.
"Anything like that can potentially kill them, not to just make them sick and feel bad and horrible so I just think as responsible dog owners, people should invest in it," said Mitchell.
The Columbia Animal Center does not offer flu shots to people in the public. They recommend that you ask your dog's vet if they are need of the flu vaccine.