A new strain of dog flu has been detected in the US and has already infected thousands of dogs in the Midwest, six of which have died, according to animal health officials.
The canine influenza virus – via a strain called H3N2 – first struck dogs in Chicago in January, but now has spread to Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, according to a report from the Associated Press.
This strain of the illness has been common in China and South Korea for years, but had not been seen in North America prior to this year.
Symptoms of the illness are similar to human symptoms of the flu and include a cough, runny nose, lack of appetite and fever.
Officials in Chicago have reported 1,137 cases in the area, with six deaths. Though exact numbers aren’t available for the whole Midwest outbreak, one official says it is less than 5,000 cases.
Animal health experts say that H3N2 is not more dangerous to dogs than a previously seen H3N8 strain of the flu. Cats are susceptible to the new strain, but humans cannot contract it.
As yet, there have been no reports of the disease being detected in animals in the UK.
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