Testing out of Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin do show that the current outbreak of influenza is due to H3N2, an Asian strain of Canine Influenza wildly distributed throughout dog populations of Southern China and South Korea. There is no evidence of transmission to humans although there is a possibility of transmission to cats. We have no reports during this outbreak of any cats becoming ill with the H3N2 strain. It is unknown how it was brought into the Chicago area and despite there being a decrease in new cases, owners are still advised to be vigilant.
New cases have been diagnosed in McHenry County and unfortunately one of those pets did recently pass away. So despite not hearing as much in the news, Canine Influenza is still a concern and we are recommending pet owners continue keep their dogs isolated. We at Lincolnshire Animal Hospital continue to examine all suspect respiratory cases outdoors in an effort to limit exposure. The Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Surgery Center reports at least 20 new cases in the last week and The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association is still urging pet owners, whenever possible, to keep their pets away from social areas such as groomers, doggy daycares, dog parks and boarding facilities.
The big question everyone has is for how long should the isolation continue. The honest answer is we just don’t know. We feel that the worst is over but a couple more weeks of vigilance may be needed. We will continue to stay in touch with local emergency clinics and keep you informed of any changes in our recommendations.
The next question is that of the influenza vaccine. The H3N8 strain for which this vaccine was made is a concern in the area although not the cause of the current outbreak. There is hope that it will also protect against the new H3N2 strain but that has yet to be determined. The current influenza vaccine is recommended based on a pet’s lifestyle. Those dogs participating in daycare, dog parks, boarding and grooming, more or less any situation where dogs congregate, should be considered for the vaccine. As always, do not hesitate to call or email Lincolnshire Animal Hospital if you have any questions regarding the current outbreak or vaccinations.
Please note the links below for more information regarding canine influenza.
The Doctors and Staff of Lincolnshire Animal Hospital