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Local veterinarian urges dog owners to vaccinate against H3N2, the dog flu virus

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SEATTLE  --  A local vet is warning dog owners to get their pets vaccinated against the new strain of dog flu to hit our area.

It's called H3N2 and it's highly contagious.

Dr. Laura Monahan of Atlantic Veterinary Hospital says the dog flu vaccine isn't just an option, it's a necessity, now that H3N2 is here in Washington.

Earlier this month dozens of dogs became sick at a kennel in Kent and two tested positive for H3N2.

"Get your dogs vaccinated as quickly as possible.  It can make them quite ill," says Monahan.

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, lethargy, fever and discharge from the eyes and nose.

Monahan says the virus can live up to 7 days. It's transferred from dog to dog, can be airborne and humans can even be a carrier infecting their own pets.

Monahan says prevention is simple; a vaccine and a booster shot.  Two weeks later the dog is considered fully protected.  Prices vary from vet to vet.  Atlantic Veterinary Hospital charges $38 per shot.

If you think your dog may be experiencing flu-like symptoms and you want to get them checked out, call your vet ahead of time so they have time to set up quarantine in their facility.