By Jamie Rogers A dog's cold, wet nose becoming a runny nose may be a cue to Fairfax County residents to get to an animal hospital for treatment of a potentially fatal canine disease.
County veterinarians say cases of canine influenza - a respiratory disease spread between dogs only, and not humans - have already been reported locally.
An outbreak of canine influenza prompted the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to stop accepting dogs earlier this summer after one dog died of the virus.
A total of 12 dogs were treated for the virus. The shelter was able to resume intakes in late July.
In addition to a runny noses, other signs of the disease are coughing, sneezing and a fever.
The best way to prevent canine influenza is by vaccinating dogs who aren't infected, hospital staff said. There is a specific shot for canine influenza; the bordetella (kennel cough) and distemper vaccines won't prevent canine influenza.
The vaccine is initially administered in two doses given several weeks apart. After that, a booster shot should be given annually to prevent infection, doctors said. .