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Veterinarians are warning about a highly-contagious dog flu virus that's spreading across the country.

The strain, known as H3N2, has sickened at least 2,000 dogs in 40 states since last spring. It most recently cropped up in Missouri, and Texas before that.

"The big problem is we don't know where it's going to hit next, we don't know when it's going to hit," Dr. Christi Belew told Fox 4 Kansas City.

Healthy dogs should get through the flu just fine, but in rare cases it can lead to pneumonia and cause hospitalization or death.

Places where large numbers of dogs are grouped together are most susceptible. It can only be passed from dog to dog, but can spread quickly through kennels or rescue shelters.

Belew said that most owners don't need to worry, but there are preventative measures they can take.

Owners can make sure their dog is caught up on their bortadella and flu vaccines.

They should also keep their dog away from other dogs that show symptoms like hacking cough, runny nose or gunky eyes.

If your dog shows those symptoms or is lethargic or uninterested in food and treats, vets urge you to keep them at home and away from other dogs.

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