Texarkana dog show canceled over canine flu outbreaks - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Texarkana dog show canceled over canine flu outbreaks

(KSLA) -

Reports of canine flu outbreaks throughout the country have dog owners and veterinarians on high alert. 

In fact, organizers of an annual dog show in Texarkana say they pulled the plug on this year's event.

They said they are taking the extreme precaution to ensure the health and safety of the dogs and their owners. 

Dog flu cannot be transmitted to humans.

Two cases of canine flu have been confirmed in Louisiana. None is in the ArkLaTex.

But some of the more than 800 dogs slated to participate in the show at Four States Fair Grounds were coming from states where the flu has been
detected, said Jim Arnett, president of the Texarkana Kennel Club.

The club has been holding an all-breed dog show for the past half century.

But this year's event had to be canceled.

"It was the hardest decision we have ever made," Arnett said. "And we decided we had to for the betterment of the animals and also the potential of spreading it further."

Symptoms of canine influenza include fever, a lack of appetite, a dry, hacking cough, lethargy and discharge from the nose and/or eyes.

 "It is actually pretty contagious. But it is only seen in high-risk groups of dogs such as dogs that go to dog shows." said Lisa Morgan,a veterinarian at Westridge Animal Hospital in Texarkana.

RELATED: Click here to learn more about influenza in pets. 

Veterinarians say the best protection is vaccination.

"We have just got a new shipment of vaccine for the new strain that is in, so we are ready and prepared," Morgan said.

The vaccine is given in two shots two weeks apart.

Most dogs infected with the flu virus recover within days, she added, but there are cases in which the virus can prove fatal to the animals.

The annual dog show is a major fundraiser for the kennel club.

But there are no plans to reschedule this year's show, Arnett said.

"We have pretty much existed from money coming from the show. This would have been our 50th anniversary."

The University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine says confirmed cases of canine influenza have been recorded in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas and Illinois.

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