Willow, a playful yellow labrador, started coughing Friday morning. She went to doggy daycare, but the staff there immediately sent her to the veterinarian.
"I'm a nurse myself I work at El Camino hospital and we're crazy with patients with the flu up there so, of course, when I came here and now my dog has the flu. It's a little disconcerting because it's serious," said Karen Thomas, Willow's owner.
DOG OWNERS BEWARE- Dog flu spreading in South Bay. Very contagious. Dog can have, but symptoms take a few days to appear. Vets recommending vaccinations. Some dog daycares closing https://t.co/azLyjAA1hz #abc7now pic.twitter.com/IxZsGgZ5M5— Janine De la Vega (@JanineDLV) January 13, 2018
Canine influenza is very contagious. It's difficult to initially detect because a dog can have the flu, but the symptoms don't show up until a few days later. Dr. Dave Reed owns the dog daycare and animal hospital. They're treating many dogs.
"I'd say 20 at this point and Doctor Johnson who is over there right now administering to them right now had two more positive cases today so this really is a severe problem," said Dr. Reed.
Many kennels and dog care facilities in the area closed today because of the outbreak. At Dr. Dave's, signs are posted alerting dog owners of the symptoms which include a fever, cough, and loss of appetite.
Listen to this lab’s cough. She just was diagnosed with dog flu. There’s an outbreak in San Jose and many doggie daycares & kennels are temporarily closing so it does not spread. Story at 11pm #abc7now pic.twitter.com/QcafTonoig— Janine De la Vega (@JanineDLV) January 13, 2018
Dr. Dave's is shutting down his doggie daycare for at least a week. When it reopens, they will only take dogs that have been vaccinated.
The vaccine is a series of two shots taken a few weeks apart. It then takes a couple of weeks for the protection to work. Willow is now on antibiotics and will avoid contact with other dogs.
"We'll just keep her at home and take good care of her," said Thomas.
Most infected dogs recover, but in rare cases, the flu can lead to pneumonia and death.