Dog flu cases linked to deadly outbreak reported in Indiana; learn what to watch for

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 16, 2015)-- The deadly outbreak of dog flu in the Midwest continues to spread as state health officials confirm they have received reports of the virus in Indiana. According to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, there have been at least a dozen cases reported in northwest Indiana in the past week.

The outbreak first spread to Wisconsin and Chicago.

Veterinarian Dr. Greg Borlik from Cottage Animal Clinic in Carmel said people in central Indiana should prepare, not panic.

"The scary thing about this is that it's very contagious, just like the human influenza," said Borlik.

The condition can cause lingering coughs, lethargic behavior, poor appetite and fever. It’s not contagious to humans and won’t spread to cats either. But a person who’s been in contact with a dog carrying the virus can inadvertently spread it to another dog.

If you send your dog to a doggy day care or kennel, you should keep an eye out for symptoms like a runny nose, trouble breathing and coughing.

"If you're going to be going to Chicago or having friends from Chicago bring their dogs there, quarantine them for a day and give them a bath. Make sure they're not having any symptoms," said Borlik.

There is a vaccine for the dog flu, but it may not be as effective as first thought.

"The problem with this most recent outbreak is that it's a different strain and the vaccine may not provide any immunity at all. It's too early to tell," said Borlik.