WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Before you even walk in the door at Quince Orchard Veterinary Hospital, you see signs up, warning about the highly contagious dog flu in Montgomery County.
Dr. Megan Giebel says she doesn't want to create panic but stressed the seriousness of this situation. She says in her opinion, "pretty much every dog in the county and surroundings counties is at risk".
The dog flu affects all dogs of all ages. Dogs will have very similar symptoms to what a human experiences, coughing, high fever, decreased appetite. While her office hasn't seen any cases so far, one big problem some dogs may carry the virus but will show no symptoms.
If that dog comes into contact with other dogs, the flu can spread rapidly and it's not just through direct contact.
She tells us, "It can spread on anything that has had contact with the virus, it can spread on people, a collar, a toy."
The staff at Quince Orchard Veterinary Hospital is making extra efforts to wipe down rooms between treatments. The hospital has even cancelled routine procedures, like spays and neuters, over the next few weeks as a precaution. They are spreading the word to their clients about the flu.
Ivey Farber is a dog walker.
There is a vaccine for this flu and she's educating her clients about the vaccine and the flu itself. Farber says, "When they say to me, my dog doesn't go to dog parks or interact with other dogs, I have to say, that's not what's going on here."
Seth Goren is a client of Ivey's and brought his dog Emme in to get the shot. That's the first step - he also plans to be more cautious saying, "We aren't going to rush off to dog parks now, make sure we are aware of who she is around and when".
Dr. Geibel says there is no need to panic but limit your dog's interaction with other dogs as much as possible. That means may be cutting back on groomin, or kennels. Also try and avoid dog parks she says.
Another concern is the end of summer dog swims which she calls a "Flu Bath". The Montgomery County Recreation Department actually cancelled a Pooch Pool Party as a result of this outbreak.
If your dog shows any symptoms, call your vet.
You can also get your dog a vaccine. It's a set of two shots, but your dog won't be fully protected until after the second shot. The second shot is given 2 to 4 weeks after the initial shot.