No reported cases of canine influenza in Montana despite fears - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

No reported cases of canine influenza in Montana despite fears

Posted: Updated:
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Reports of several cases of canine illnesses with similar symptoms to canine influenza spread through Montana causing pet owners to be alarmed. Canine influenza can be deadly in canines but there have yet to be any confirmed cases in Montana.

Fears hit earlier when several vets reported ill dogs with symptoms similar to kennel cough and canine influenza. This illness though has tested to be a virus and not kennel cough or canine influenza according to Dr. Diana Kuehn of Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital in Billings.

Dr. Kuehn said this recent string of illnesses causes dogs to have coughing fits and gag phlegm but otherwise has no other symptoms. The cough is concerning to pet owners and is a nuance to both the dog and owner. None of the dogs brought in have tested positive for canine influenza.

Dr. Kuehn said this illness appears to be viral and spread nose to nose or from owner to pet. Once a sick dog is out their cough and phlegm is left in their wake and can be transferred by owners stepping in it accidentally and bringing it into their homes.

The virus has been treated with antibiotics and clears up within 3 days according to Dr. Kuehn. She says if your dog is showing signs of coughing, gagging, spitting up phlegm, or acting like there is something stuck in their throat. If your dog is showing signs of illness then Dr. Kuehn suggests that you avoid taking walks, going to the dog park, doggie daycare, or stores with you where they can come into contact with the virus.

Dr. Kuehn said, "I definitely would not panic about it. I would just be aware it's there and if we're starting to see cases of true canine influenza. Those dogs typically run fevers and are lethargic, depressed, not feeling good and get worse very, very quickly. The cases that we've seen have been bright-eyed and bushy tailed other than the coughing."

Keep an eye on your pets and take them to the vet as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms.  

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