A contagious virus has been spreading across dog populations recently, prompting worries about what this could mean for man’s best friend.

The news: A recent outbreak of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex — also known as “kennel cough” or “canine cough” — has been hitting parts of Florida, per USA Today.

  • “It’s like the canine flu, a canine cold,” Dr. Maria Serrano told CBS Miami.

Details: The medical issue occurs when bacteria or viruses affect a dog’s respiratory system.

  • The condition can spread fast between dogs.
  • “Kennel cough” can spread through direct contact between dogs or indirect contact, like coughing or sneezing.
  • Dogs can also contract the condition from contaminated surfaces, including their food and water bowls and human contact, according to Merck Animal Health.

Symptoms: According to Merck Animal Health, signs that your dog might have a CIRDC infection include:

  • Dry coughing and harsh coughs
  • Gagging
  • Possible anorexia.
  • “The big thing that we will see is kind of a cough, a dry, productive cough, where it sounds as though they’re trying to hack something up,” Dr. Christine Klippen, a veterinarian at Friendship Hospital for Animals, told CBS Miami.
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The bigger picture: Though there’s an outbreak in South Florida right now, the cough can spread throughout the country, hitting multiple populations.

What they’re saying: “We’ll see a case here and there, but then there are times where outbreaks will occur in different areas of the country at different moments,” José Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, told USA Today.