More than 1,000 dogs in the midwest have been diagnosed with a highly-contagious flu that has never been documented in the U.S. before. The strain showed up in Illinois weeks ago, and has spread to other states, but so far no cases have been reported in Iowa.

If you notice a cough, sneeze, or loss of appetite in your dog, this may be the answer. Many owners also report their dogs seem to experience extreme fatigue. If you see these symptoms in your dog, please see your veterinarian right away.

The disease was formerly seen only in horses, but years ago started showing up in dogs. It's highly contagious in dogs and though humans can't get it, we can be spread it. In the Chicago area, pet owners are being advised to stay away from dog parks and ask their veterinarian's about a flu vaccine for their dog.

Again, no confirmed cases in Iowa yet, so no reason for alarm. However, if your dog(s) develop any of the symptoms (cough, sneeze, loss of appetite, fatigue), contact your vet. Here's hoping none of our beloved four-legged friends here in Iowa have to suffer through it.