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Canine flu outbreak at Farmingdale PetSmart

Eight dogs have been diagnosed with the latest

Eight dogs have been diagnosed with the latest strain of canine flu, and they are recovering, with PetSmart paying for treatment, a corporate spokeswoman said on Nov. 22, 2011. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp, 2010

A canine flu outbreak has been confirmed at PetSmart's Farmingdale dog day-camp and boarding, the pet supplies chain said Monday.

Eight dogs have been diagnosed with the latest strain of the highly contagious disease, and they are recovering, with PetSmart paying for treatment, said corporate spokeswoman Michelle Friedman.

In the past month or two, veterinarians have reported outbreaks in the New York metro area, including a Rockland County kennel and an animal shelter in Teterboro, N.J.

The flu, spread by contact and cough, is usually not fatal but can be serious for dogs with breathing and respiratory issues. The symptoms are similar to the human flu -- cough, runny nose, fever and lethargy -- but experts said life threatening symptoms can develop, including pneumonia. Dogs more likely to catch the virus are those exposed to other canines gathered in close quarters, such as dog parks and boarding facilities.

PetSmart's Farmingdale dog camp has been closed since Nov. 14 and the PetsHotel shut down Friday as workers disinfected the area, Friedman said. They are to reopen Wednesday, she said, but dogs who have been there recently won't be allowed back until two weeks after their last visits.

"The safety and well-being of all pets that have been under our care is our priority," Friedman said. "We haven't seen any new incidents beyond these eight cases."

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