An outbreak of canine influenza is moving closer and closer to crossing Louisiana borders. Veterinarians in Texas have reported several cases of the disease in animals in that state.

One Louisiana veterinarian says that it's inevitable that the disease will show in Louisiana as well. That's the bad news. The good news is this. There is something  you can do to be proactive in protecting your animals from this influenza strain.

According to Jae Chang a veterinarian at Farr Animal Hospital in Lake Charles vaccination now is the key to protecting your pet from this "dog flu". Much the same as humans should consider getting a flu shot, Dr. Chang suggests the same for dogs.

Especially if you have a higher chance of getting them boarded, or getting them groomed, and any areas where dogs congregate, it's probably a good idea to get your dogs vaccinated at least once a year.

Since many people are traveling this time of year and many pets are boarded at kennels and vet offices the proper vaccinations are key.

This strain of influenza does have a low mortality rate in dogs. While the disease is not often fatal it does bring on a unique set of challenges for the animal and the humans associated with the animal.

They will show symptoms of upper respiratory infection, like coughing, fever, lethargy, decreased appetite.  Very similar symptoms of kennel cough.

In making his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network, Dr. Chang suggested that pet owners need not panic but instead get more information. He suggested calling your veterinarian and making sure your animal was up to date on all of their required vaccinations. He also suggested that if you have concerns about this strain of flu to ask your vet to find out what is best for your animals.