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Debunking the 'dog flu' rumors

Updated:
Veterinarians in Claremore are being "hounded" by phone calls about the so-called dog flu. They say the rumor apparently started on the Internet and even made it into some media reports.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tries to set the record straight. We’ve all heard about "bird flu" and "horse flu", so why not dog flu? But vets say the rumor is all bark and no bite.

After the first few phone calls, Dr. Ed Gilsleider realize there was a dogged rumor out there about something people were calling "dog flu". "They were concerned about this new disease, were they going to get it? They were scared and we probably got 10 phone calls per day minimum."

He found other vets were getting the same calls. He says he double-checked with state officials and with a top vet at Oklahoma State University, and as he suspected, there is no dog flu. He's not sure where the term even started. "Probably originating in show circuits with people that own show dogs and they'll come up with names, but there really is not a dog flu."

He suspects people may be referring to a rare and sometimes fatal bacteria that can affects dogs and humans called Campylobacter, but he says there have only been a couple of those cases in the whole state this year. He says that it's often a secondary infection that attacks after the dog has gotten another more common disease like parvo. He says it occurs in less than one percent of all canine diarrhea, which by itself is not a huge cause for concern. "Numerous causes of diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, it's a very common thing in small animal practices."

Obviously, if you have concerns about your dog, Dr. Gilsleider says take it to a vet, but he's says it won't be anything called "dog flu."
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