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Nearly 50 cases of canine flu have been reported in six Michigan counties in the last three weeks, leading state officials to warn dog owners to take precautions.

Since July 13, there have been 49 cases of canine influenza reported, said the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Thursday.

The cases have been reported in Huron, Kent, Macomb, Oakland, Ottawa and Wayne counties. The number is higher than last year, when nine cases of canine influenza were reported.

Dog flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. Signs of canine influenza can include fever, lethargy, coughing and nasal and eye discharge. Most cases are mild and affected dogs usually recover within two to three weeks, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Any time dogs come together in groups, there is a risk for disease,” said state veterinarian James Averill. “It’s important that dog owners work with their veterinarians to protect their dogs.”

Veterinarians have information about a dog-flu vaccine.

Read more:Vets: Take precautions to prevent dog flu

Experts recommend that if a dog is ill or is showing signs of illness, keep it home or prevent it from coming in contact with other dogs, especially at groomers, doggie day care, dog parks or other places where dogs gather.

Counties where canine influenza were reported:

  • 2 cases in unidentified counties
  • Huron - 1
  • Kent  - 1
  • Macomb - 12
  • Oakland - 19
  • Ottawa - 10
  • Wayne - 4

For information, visit www.michigan.gov/animalprograms.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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