If you think dogs can't catch the flu, think again. Texas has positive cases of canine influenza right now, and there are some things you need to know to protect your pup.  

If your dog starts coughing a lot, it might not be a loose shard from that bone you tossed to him.  It could be the doggie flu.

Just like people, dogs who catch the influenza virus can develop a  high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy, according to KBTX in College Station.

The cough can linger for 10-21 days even with antibiotics and cough suppressants.  And you thought the flu was hard to shake for your kindergartner.

Pets that hit the dog parks regularly have an increased chance of picking up the dog flu, just as kids on the playground increase their chances of getting the human flu because of those close, snotty interactions.  If you have an anti-social dog that's best at home by himself, at least he probably won't get the pup flu.

The Texas A&M diagnostic lab in charge of testing the samples, says the dog flu is still an emerging disease, so the dog population lacks immunity to it. And it's a quick spreader, so if it catches on it can really rip through the East Texas dog population in a hurry.

Most cases are mild, but dogs who get severe cases can end up with serious respiratory issues like pneumonia, and then you've got an uncomfortable, noisy, wheezing dog on your hands.  Not to mention some unexpected medical bills.  Canine influenza started in Chicago in 2015, and dogs between here and Illinois have managed to bring it to Texas in that amount of time.

So, can people get it?  Texas A&M says there's no evidence that the canine influenza can be transmitted to humans.  And that's good, because we have enough to worry about with the swine flu, West Nile, and Lyme disease.  There are plenty of other unsavory things we can catch from animals.

Now, back to a fun summer at the lake.  And if your dog does pick up the flu, there are plenty of dog movies on Netflix to check out while he's recovering on the couch.

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