West Michigan veterinarian prepares for dog flu outbreak

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- With a flu outbreak that's affected more than a thousands dogs in surrounding states, a veterinarian in Grand Rapids is preparing for a potential outbreak here.

Lynn Happel with Eastown Veterinary Clinic said this is the largest canine flu outbreak since 2004.

"It is very easily transmitted. The actual strain of canine influenza virus that's in Chicago is different than what was found in 2004 in Florida," Happel said. "It was H3N3 and this strain in Chicago is H3N2. So, while it is very contagious it's similar in the human flu in that there's several strains."

It's also similar, Happel said, because the effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends on the strain of the flu that it's protecting against.

"The vaccine is against the 2004 strain, but it should have what we call cross protectiveness," Happel said. "So, it may not 100 percent prevent this new strain but it should make the respiratory signs much less severe."

Eastown Veterinary Clinic has ordered vaccines should the virus spread into Michigan.

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