Canine Influenza – Update

Update- Dr. Burgess on Canine Influenza

In the Crystal Lake, Algonquin and Lake in the Hills area

This week new information has become available concerning the current Influenza outbreak. Cases of this upper respiratory infection (symptoms may include fever, lethargy, cough, nasal discharge, pneumonia) have been reported now in various locations outside of the city. The strain of Influenza causing most of these cases has not been previously diagnosed in the United States which is making testing and treatment more complicated. The current Influenza vaccination may not have any efficacy against this new Asian strain. This Influenza virus while not contagious to humans is highly contagious to dogs and possibly cats (no reported cases as of yet) staying alive on surfaces for forty eight hours, clothing for twenty four hours, and hands for twelve hours. Current recommendations include:

  • Be aware that any exposure to any other dog that is infected may put your pet at risk. Dogs are able to spread the infection several days prior to showing any symptoms.
  • If planning to board, use doggie daycare, visit a dog park, participate in group dog classes, or attend dog events, be aware that your pet may be at greater risk for contracting this infection.
  • Contemplate vaccination for Canine Influenza. While the currently available vaccine may not prevent this strain, it does still prevent the original strain which has also been found in some affected Chicago pets. Bottom line is we just do not know enough yet about this new strain, but vaccination for Bordetella and Influenza is what we have available at this point in time.
  • Avoiding exposure is the number one preventative.

The American Veterinary Medical Associations thoughts on Canine Influenza.