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Update on Chicago’s Canine Flu Outbreak

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If you’ve been following the news, you’ve no doubt heard about the canine influenza outbreak in Chicago and a few other areas. Along with several deaths, the flu outbreak has resulted in some pet businesses changing their policies during this outbreak to limit contact between dogs.

Today we received an update on the outbreak from BluePearl Veterinary Partners about new information released Sunday that shows the canine flu outbreak affecting more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area is believed to be caused by a different strain of the virus than earlier assumed.

Researchers from Cornell University and University of Wisconsin say additional tests revealed the virus is a strain not previously seen in North America, and it’s unknown if the current vaccine provides any protection from it, according to a Cornell University press release.

“This is important information for all pet owners to know,” said Dr. Juliet Gladden, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care with BluePearl in Illinois. “While we don’t want to discourage people from vaccinating their pets, it may be more important to heed warnings to avoid places such as dog parks or grooming salons where the virus could be spread.”

According to the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control in Illinois, more than 1,000 dogs have become sick and five have died as a result of canine influenza. About 40 cases of flu have been reported at the three BluePearl Veterinary hospitals in the Chicago area in the past two weeks.

The outbreak had been attributed to the H3N8 virus, but the new tests show that it is the H3N2 virus, which is typically found in southern Chinese and South Korean dog populations, the researchers said. Unlike the other strain, H3N2 may cause illness in cats, although there is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans.

Both strains cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. However, symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus, Cornell officials said.

“If you notice any of these symptoms, please call your primary care veterinarian or an emergency care hospital before taking any action,” said Gladden. “They may have suggestions for managing your case at home, which could help prevent the disease from spreading further.”

Marie

Sunday 19th of April 2015

I’m sure and have faith that this canine flu crisis will be resolved as quickly as possible. We just have to put our trust in the vets and scientists. We all love our dog folk very much.

Alta

Sunday 19th of April 2015

Esmarie, I totally agree with you! My dog is like my own child and definitely my best friend!! I hope and pray that this canine flu would come to an end very soon!!!

Esmarie 11084244

Sunday 19th of April 2015

I would be devastated if one of my beloved canine companions were to fall ill to the virus. It just goes to show how important it is to vaccinate your pets because they are part of the family.

JoAnn Stancer

Monday 13th of April 2015

I wrote about this today also, scary. Hope it subsides very soon.

Paris & John

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

It sure is scary! I hope, like with human flu season, the coming warm weather hopes bring an end to the canine flu season!