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 

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