Canine influenza reported in Webster, Galveston County areas

HOUSTON - Dog owners are concerned about canine influenza in the Webster and Galveston County areas.

Health officials think some of the cases may be coming from a big-name pet store.

The Harris County Health Department said canine influenza is not an illness that is required to be reported to it.

One pet store said it doesn't require the vaccine for dogs that come into its boarding facility.

"Canine influenza is a very contagious virus," Joanne Jackson, with the Houston Humane Society, said.

The highly contagious dog flu has made its way to a popular boarding facility in Webster: the PetSmart location on Bay Area Boulevard.

Jackson said symptoms for the virus are hard to miss.

"Coughing, lethargic, maybe a low-grade fever, not eating," Jackson said.

Both the Harris County and Galveston County health departments confirm they've been notified about cases of canine influenza associated with the Webster PetSmart location.

"We have seen multiple cases of respiratory illness in our Webster location, including two confirmed cases of canine influenza on July 25 and 26 respectively," PetSmart said in a statement it sent KPRC Thursday.

"If not treated, it can turn into pneumonia," Jackson said. "Go immediately to a veterinarian. They can prescribe a treatment."

Several animal hospitals and clinics in the Webster area are urging pet parents to vaccinate their dogs and then wait two weeks before taking them to a kennel, to be groomed, trained or to interact with other dogs.

One groomer is asking owners on Facebook to let them know if they've visited the local PetSmart.

PetSmart said it:

  • Stopped taking reservations for the pets-hotel and doggy day camp at the Webster location
  • Is disinfecting the store
  • Is notifying owners whose pets may have been exposed to the dog flu

More information on dog flu can be found HERE.

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