Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Canine Influenza Update 4/14/15 AM

An article dated 4/12/15 out of Cornell University by Joe Swartz, stated the Influenza outbreak in Chicago may be caused by a new strain of Influenza. The new strain (H3N2) is from Asia, and is currently in wide circulations in Southern China and Korean dog populations.

The outbreak was originally attributed to the H3N8 strain which was first identified in the US dog population in 2004 at Greyhound race Tracks and some boarding kennels.

Currently testing is being done at the National Veterinary Service Laboratories in Ames, IA, to see if they can determine if two different strains exist in the Chicago outbreak. The New H3N2 (Asia) strain has also shown to cause infection and respiratory illness in cats.

The fact that a lot of the dogs tested positive to the old influenza dog virus testing and some did not leaves them to suspect that two strains may currently be in Chicago.

I have personally talked to the spokeswoman at Cornell University and she said they should know in about two weeks whether the current vaccine we have will protect against both strains. The bad news is that if the canine influenza vaccine does not protect against the new strain, it would likely take several months to develop a new vaccine. Therefore the overall preventative advice is to avoid bringing your dog to places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, beaches, etc. until we know more. We will forward new information as it becomes available.


As it stands, we do not currently know whether the vaccine we currently have will protect against the current influenza virus that is going through Chicago, unfortunately it is the best we have until we know more.

The recommendations to avoid dog parks and areas where dogs congregate continue to be the best practice. We also continue to advise having your dog vaccinated for the strain we know about since it has not been confirmed if both strains are in the Chicago area.  As always we want what is best for your pets and will continue to keep you updated as we know more.

Thank you,

-Dr. Rex Bailey and Dr. Lauren Fairchild 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Canine Influenza Continued: A Message from Dr. Bailey

I wanted to address the seriousness of the Canine Influenza virus (CIV).  This virus is not like regular kennel cough.  It is much more serious.  CIV is one of the biggest threats to dogs in our area since the Parvovirus outbreak in the 1970’s.  The Chicago land area is seeing a large number of cases with 80% of the dogs tested being positive (Source: Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association).  Most of the boarding facilities in Chicago have closed.  One boarding facility in Chicago had 26 sick dogs being treated at one time. 

The Chicago land area is overwhelmed with sick dogs.  I believe that even the news has not correctly portrayed the speed at which it has spread nor the seriousness of the disease to your dog.  I personally know a veterinarian in Lincoln Park, who, for the first time in her 30 year career, cancelled all regular visits to exclusively see patients with CIV like symptoms on Saturday.  They are treating a lot of dogs for Pneumonia.  Because many families traveled over the Easter weekend, there is concern the virus may be spreading.  Please avoid dog parks and other areas where dogs gather.

Currently we have not yet seen any confirmed cases in our area, but I would recommend avoiding dog parks and other areas where dogs gather until they are fully vaccinated. 

Here at Michigan City Animal Hospital we are taking strict precautions to help keep your pet healthy.

Due to the hundreds of dogs in the Chicago area who visit our area, we are recommending all dogs be vaccinated for Canine Influenza starting this week.  All dogs boarding at our hospital must be vaccinated for Canine Influenza. 

Signs of CIV are similar to Kennel Cough and include:

  • Dry hacking cough 
  • coughing up a white foaming phlegm
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • lack of appetite
  • runny nose
  • rapid breathing
  • fever

A few dogs have died and the numbers of dogs being treated with pneumonia has risen so fast the veterinarians and pharmacies are struggling to keep up with antibiotics.  One client drove 30 minutes from Chicago to get the antibiotics.  I do not see this going away anytime soon.  This is not to scare anyone, but this is a real concern in our area.  There is no evidence that this disease can transmit to people or other animals.

Contact us today with any questions you may have: http://www.mcanimalhospital.com/

The following article was copied from ISVMA (http://www.isvma.org/)
UPDATED 4-4-15

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Canine Influenza Virus

What Is Canine Influenza Virus? There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about vaccination against canine influenza virus.

What Are the General Symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical symptoms of kennel cough, a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Symptoms of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is very important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
No. There is no evidence that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other for 10-14 days from the onset of symptoms. Dogs are most infectious before symptoms are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for around 10 days. This means that by the time symptoms are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.