KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine has identified two more cases of canine influenza and one of the animals had to be euthanized.
"We don't see influenza outbreaks very commonly in dogs," Melissa Kennedy, with UT College of Veterinary Medicine, said. "This is a new strain of the influenza virus. It was actually transported here from Asia through movement of dogs so it is a new virus to dogs in the U.S."
That brings the total number of cases identified in East Tennessee to four. Animal health experts linked the first three cases to the same facility, which originated at a dog show in Perry, Georgia. UT veterinarians said the dog had to be euthanized after developing a severe case of pneumonia.
"The fourth case we have not been able to make a connection to the dog show so that one is a little more troubling," Melissa Kennedy, with UT College of Veterinary Medicine, said. "We're a little concerned that it may be getting into the general pet population."Previous story: University of Tennessee confirms 2 cases of canine influenza
Veterinarians said the fourth case does not appear to be connected to the dog show at all and analysis is still on-going to determine the subtype of this case.
"It's concerning," Gloria Goethals said. "Anything like that could become an epidemic and with the way animals are, like children, they don't really have good hygiene. They see something they're going to eat it and pick it up."
Canine influenza is usually a mild disease, but it can lead to severe secondary pneumonia. The disease is usually the most severe in puppies and elderly dogs, or dogs with pre-existing conditions.
"There is no reason to panic," Kennedy said. "Overall the mortality is quite low."Related: Watching for signs of canine flu in pets