If you haven’t heard about the Canine Influenza outbreak in Chicago yet, you soon will. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a few more facts that may have been left out on the news.
The most relevant points about this disease are these:
- The Chicago Outbreak is caused by a strain of the disease called H3N2 which has only been seen in Korea, China and Thailand until now.
- This virus is very contagious and can be spread by dogs that appear to be completely healthy.
- The vaccine that is available is a H3N8 strain and we do not know at this point if there is cross-protection.
- Isolation is the most effective way to prevent the virus. DO NOT TAKE your pets to the Chicago land area and DO NOT ALLOW pets from that area to come to you.
- Cats are not susceptible to the “old” strain, H3N8 but are susceptible to the “new” strain, H3N2, however they appear to be less affected.
- Most dogs only suffer mild disease that is identical to other upper respiratory diseases such as kennel cough, however about 10% can become seriously ill and develop pneumonia that requires hospitalization.
- I recommend that all dogs that enter a group setting (i.e. those that go to a groomer, boarding facility, doggy daycare, shows, field trials or that travel) be given the available H3N8 vaccine as it may help prevent or diminish the disease and is a relatively safe vaccine, as well as a Bordetella vaccine.
- If your dog develops a cough, is lethargic and not eating well, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
For more information visit www.avma.org.