How to protect your dog from Canine Flu

Humans are not the only ones who may be suffering from the wrath of flu season.

Dogs are also prone to the flu, known as canine influenza or dog flu.

Cases of dog flu have been reported in 30 states, including South Carolina.

According to the CDC, the respiratory illness was first reported in canines in 2004. The virus was originally found in horses before it spread to dogs.

Since 2004, dog flu has become increasingly prevalent.

It includes upper respiratory-type symptoms, like runny eyes, severe coughing, and fevers, according to Dr. Laura Berger-Bishop at VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital.

There are a wide variety of ways it can spread.

"You as a person can transmit it from dog to dog. If you pet a dog that has it, and then you pet a dog that doesn't. Water bowls. Food bowls. Brushes leashes," said Dr. Berger-Bishop.

Dr. Berger Bishop said starting January 1, 2014, VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital will now require dogs to get vaccinated for it. The vaccine is known as, Canine Influenza Vaccine, which is now available.

"Obviously we haven't had enormous amounts of experience with how effective it might be, but, so far at least all of the trials they did with the vaccine before they released it have been very effective," said Dr. Berger-Bishop.

There is an 8-percent mortality rate from dog flu.

Vaccinations cost $33.50 and are needed on an annual basis.