The Canine Influenza outbreak that started in Chicago has now spread to 13 states. The strain of the virus, H3N2, originated in Asia in 2007 and has sickened over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area alone. Eight dogs have died from either the virus itself or secondary infections. Alabama, California, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana have all reported instances of Canine Influenza.
Canine Influenza’s symptoms are similar to the flu that humans get, and include cough, runny nose, and fever. However, the disease cannot be spread to humans. Because the virus is highly contagious between dogs, pet owners in affected areas should avoid dog parks.
A vaccination is available for dogs in high-risk areas. The vaccine has been shown to control the spread and minimize the impact of Canine Influenza infection and has been proven safe in more than 7 million dogs. Two doses of the vaccine are necessary to develop an effective immune response. However, since the vaccine is developed for the H3N8 strain, protection against the current outbreak H3N2 strain is unknown.
Please call Gardner Animal Care Center for more information about Canine Influenza.