City Vet's Dr. Jana Bryant is educating dog owners about a new illness targeting their pets -- Canine Influenza, or "dog flu."
Bryant said, "We`re not being alarmist about this disease, but we definitely want to be proactive. Because it is a disease that`s easily transmitted from dog to dog. So, it just takes nothing more than a cough or sneeze to spread it. Much like the common cold."
swine flu or bird flu, dog flu can not spread to humans.
Symptoms include decreased activity, loss of appetite, fever, sneezing, coughing, and in some cases, it can be fatal.
"The tough thing is that those symptoms are the exact same symptoms for other diseases. It is something that we are really poised to really jump on if it gets out of hand, and the easiest way is to vaccinate a dog," Bryant said.
In order for the vaccine to work, dogs must receive two rounds of shots.
Dog owner Alan Hall brought his mix-breed, Ginny, to City Vet to get her dog flu booster shot on Thursday.
"I've heard dogs can die from it, so it`s worth being cautious about," Hall said. "I'm gonna board them tomorrow to go to Oklahoma for Christmas, so they're around other dogs."
Dogs who spend a great deal of time around other dogs are more susceptible for contracting dog flu.
That's why many boarding facilities and shelters have begun requiring the vaccination.
SPCA's James Bias said, "A few years ago, we didn`t have a vaccine. We do now have a very effective vaccine, and it just makes sense to go ahead and get that protection."
SPCA does not currently require the vaccine, but Bias said many shelters will probably begin using combined vaccinations.
Bryant hopes pet owners will listen to the warnings from veterinarians.
"The dog actually can be affected from another dog that`s not showing any symptoms. So, another dog may not be sneezing, coughing yet. So, having your dog vaccinated is really the best way to prevent it," Bryant said.
North Texas Vets Warn Against Dog Flu