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Chattanooga veterinarians warning of highly contagious Canine Influenza

Cleveland, Tenn. | Bradley County, Tenn. | Hamilton, Tenn.


We’ve been reading the warnings for weeks now — pet illnesses are running rampant in Chattanooga. Veterinarians are seeing a rise in Canine Influenza here in the Scenic City, which is different from kennel cough.

Mary Ann Settles said her three-year-old dog Kallie is typically with her and goes to doggy daycare only a few times a week, so she never expected her dog to get sick. That was until one morning Kallie woke up coughing.

“So all of a sudden she was exhaling a bunch of air, like forceful air, and then she would go like she was clearing her throat like she had a hairball,” said Settles.

Kallie’s coughing didn’t stop, so Settles took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with Canine Influenza.

“She said it was spreading like wildfire. She just came out and looked at Kallie and saw her and it’s really obvious in her nose area. Her nose was running and it was completely wet.”

Dr. Jim Hammon, a veterinarian at Northgate Animal Hospital, said there’s been a surge of Canine Influenza cases. He said it’s important pet parents watch out for symptoms like coughing, fever and lethargy, which can last for three weeks.

“Sneezing, coughing or even barking can aerosolize this virus and it is very, very contagious,” explained Dr. Hammon.

He said it can live on surfaces for 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and without good hygiene, on your hands for 12 hours.

Local animal hospitals are asking pet owners to pause going to the dog park, groomers and boarding facilities to keep their pets healthy.

While Kennel Cough and Canine Influenza have similar symptoms, Dr. Hammon said they are not the same. If your dog catches Canine Influenza, they are not immune to Kennel Cough, and vice versa. He said vaccination and isolation are your best bets.

Settles is warning others so their pet doesn’t have to go through what her dog is experiencing.

“Just keep your dogs at home. I know it’s hard because we love them because we want them to go out and play and socialize and be happy and healthy, but this is an epidemic and it’s going to get worse if we don’t keep our dogs at home.”