LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Trips to the dog park take up a large portion of Michael Stevens' day.
"We come out here a couple times a day," he told WHAS11.
Stevens is now more cautious about letting his rescue run free after learning the dog flu is making its way around town.
"I'll be a little more guided about that," Stevens said.
Local veterinarians are issuing a warning about limiting your dog's outdoor exposure.
The flu can be passed from dog to dog through close contact in highly populated areas like dog parks and kennels. It is also airborne and can travel up to 20 feet.
"It's just so highly contagious that any dog that comes in contact with it, virtually gets it," said Dr. Robyn Cook.
Dr. Cook owns the Homeward Bound Mobile Vet hospital. Last weekend, she vaccinated more than 30 dogs at the Douglass Loop Farmer’s Market. Dr. Cook plans to return to the Farmer’s Market this weekend to educate dog owners about the flu and continue her vaccines. She says dogs could be carriers and not even know it.
"20 percent of them are walking around without any clinical signs and you don't know if a dog might be infectious," Dr. Cook said.
She says the death rate is fairly low, but the vaccination requires a booster shot two weeks after the initial vaccine. Stevens urges owners to do their homework.
"By all means, safeguard your dogs," he said.
Symptoms of the dog flu are similar to the human flu: Lethargy, lack of appetite, runny nose, coughing and sneezing.
So far this summer, Dr. Cook says there have been more than 30 confirmed cases of the dog flu in the Louisville area with 150-200 suspected cases associated with those that tested positive. Dr. Cooke will be at the Douglass Loop Farmer’s Market Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.