5 things you need to know about dog flu

The new dog flu strain continues to raise concerns for veterinarians and owners.

Here are five things you need to know about the dog flu:

1. How does it spread?

Canine influenza is an airborne virus and it's highly contagious. Vets say that it's still okay to take your dog to doggie daycare - or the dog park - and even to board your dog. But owners and boarding facilities need to be on alert for sick dogs, which should be isolated and treated.

2. What are the symptoms?

Vets tell FOX 5 News that common symptoms are coughing, sneezing, high fever and a runny nose, but also may also include rapid or difficult breathing, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

3. Is there a vaccine?

H3N2 has no vaccine. A previous outbreak of H3N8 first identified in racing greyhounds in January 2004 at a track in Florida did prompt a vaccine, but it ineffective to preventing the new strain.

4. Is this new strain deadly?

The short answer given by vets is that it can be, but the good news is that very few canine influenza cases are fatal. Most dogs can be treated, but it is highly contagious and the virus can live on clothes and surfaces for up to 24 hours. So just like with human illnesses, it is recommended using hand sanitizer and staying away from common contagion areas like parks and daycare's if you can.

Most dogs will get through the virus in two or three weeks. But a small number can develop life-threatening complications like pneumonia. The flu can be especially tough on puppies and adult dogs with compromised immune systems.

5. Can I catch flu from my dog?

You cannot catch canine influenza from your dog. The CDC says there has never been a recorded case of the virus moving between dogs and humans. And there's no evidence a human has ever contracted dog flu.

Click here to learn more about the dog flu from the American Veterinary Medical Association

App users click here for more images