Canine Influenza

There has been a lot in the news lately about the outbreak of Canine Influenza in the Chicagoland area. It has been mostly in dogs that are in community situations such as boarding facilities, grooming salons and dog parks. While a lot of information regarding vaccination has been issued there is evidence that the current Influenza strain may not be the same as the one the vaccine protects against. If it is the same strain then the vaccine is effective in most dogs HOWEVER, it requires a series of 2 vaccinations , 2-3 weeks apart and then protective levels do not develop for 6-10 weeks therefore if you vaccinate your pet now it will take 2-3 months before it is protected. The current outbreak most likely will have passed. If the strain is not the H2N8 strain then the vaccine likely will be of no protection.
So, what to do? First of all avoid community settings where your dog is likely to contract the illness. Be mindful that your dog, even though it stays home, can contract it from your neighbor’s dog through the fence if it is infected. The incubation period is 2-5 days, the illness lasts 1-3 weeks and your pet is contagious for 4 weeks after illness so isolation is very important.
Influenza in most dogs appears as a severe form of “kennel cough” with nose and eye discharge and a loud, honking cough. Low grade fevers are common. In some dogs, high fever (107) has occurred and some dogs develop pneumonia. It is not highly fatal but some deaths do occur.
If your dog is showing signs of respiratory illness, contact our office. We will set a time to check your dog. When you arrive we ask that you keep your dog IN YOUR CAR and we will come to the car to check it first. We will then give specific instructions from that point on.
To date I think I may have seen our first case last Saturday. We have sent samples to the lab for identification. Go to the following link for more detailed information about Canine Influenza

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