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Canine influenza cases are on the rise. Here's why

There are currently outbreaks in eight different states.

ATLANTA — Vaccines are not just for humans, and as cases of canine influenza continue to rise, experts say you should consider taking your pet to the vet for a shot.

If you’re feeling sick, there’s nothing like an afternoon on the couch curled up next to your pet. Don’t forget to comfort your pup if he gets sick.

Dogs don’t behave the same way as humans when they’re ill, but we do share some of the same illnesses, like the flu.

In fact, cases of canine influenza cases are on the rise in 2021.

It’s a relatively new illness. The first cases of the dog flu were reported in 2007 and they were only in a handful of states. There are now two strains of canine influenza, and currently all but four states have reported cases this year with outbreaks in eight different states.

Dr. Jerry Klein of the American Kennel Club tells us it’s such a new illness that dogs have little to no natural immunities.

During the pandemic, pet owners have been less likely to take their pups to the vet for regular wellness checkups and shots.

There are flu vaccines for dogs that require yearly boosters. Dr. Klein said when a pet owner neglects to take their dog in for a booster the animal is more vulnerable to canine flu.

Pet owners are getting out more than they were early in the pandemic, taking their dogs to the park or boarding their pets with other animals so they can travel. Those are situations where canine influenza can spread.

Dr. Klein said pet owners need to talk to their vet about vaccinations. They’re not required and they’re not for every dog. If your animal isn’t around other dogs they may not need to be vaccinated. It might be a good idea if your pet is a “social” animal.