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Chicago-area dog flu cases climb to over 1,100, including six deaths

dog-bacteria

(Joop Snijder Jr. | Shutterstock)

April 15, 2015  – Reuters

At least 1,137 Chicago-area dogs have come down with a highly contagious strain of canine flu, and six have died, in the largest and longest-lasting dog flu outbreak ever seen in the region, county officials said on Tuesday.

Veterinarians began reporting cases of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, or CIRD, in January, said Cook County spokesman Frank Shuftan. There may be more cases than have been reported, Shuftan said.

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"A lot of vets are so busy now they’re having a difficult time even calling our office," Shuftan said.

Symptoms of CIRD include persistent and lingering cough, lethargic behavior, poor appetite and a fever, said Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal & Rabies Control.

Humans cannot get dog flu, but they can spread it, so Alexander recommended thorough hand-washing after touching or petting a dog.

She said that until incidents of the outbreak slowed down, dog owners should avoid pet-friendly areas like dog parks, avoid group dog training activities and, if possible, not board their pets.

The outbreak is caused by a virus closely related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2 viruses, currently in wide circulation in southern Chinese and South Korean dog populations since being identified in 2006, according to Cornell University researchers.

The H3N2 virus had not previously been seen in North America, and the outbreak in Chicago suggested a recent introduction of the virus from Asia, Cornell said in a statement. It was not clear if there were cases of the virus in other parts of the United States.

The outbreak has resulted in some pet boarders closing temporarily, including PetSmart, which closed three facilities in the Chicago area. Two reopened after a thorough cleaning and inspection, but one remains closed, along with three "doggie daycamp" operations, according to a spokeswoman.

“We want to do what’s right for our pets and our pet parents, and these closures are in the best interest of our community,” said Gregg Scanlon, senior vice president of store operations and services for PetSmart.

The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Chicago chapter canceled its 21st annual "Bark in the Park" event at the lakefront on May 3, according to its website.

Hundreds of dogs sickened in dog flu outbreak

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April 16, 2015 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Welfare: Oprah focuses on California’s Proposition 2

 “I believe how we treat the least of beings among us determines our own humanity!”  …Oprah said in opening remarks on her show about the treatment of farm animals

 

The Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday shined a spotlight and her support on Proposition 2, the California ballot initiative that will determine how animals are raised. 

Reporter Lisa Ling visited both free-range farms and “factory” farms to show viewers the differences in how animals are raised. On the set of the program, Oprah stood next to replicas of cages and crates to show the size of some animals’ quarters in large-scale farm operations. Those who support California’s Proposition 2 say these animals have a right to more space during their lives. Opponents claim the new law would drive up costs, put farmers out of business and end the egg industry in California, and deny consumers the right to choose less-expensive food. 

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told Oprah’s audience that he supports Proposition 2. “This is just about basic decency,” he said. “It’s about, if animals are going to be raised for food – and that’s certainly the case in this country – then the least we can do for them is allow them to move. I mean, what’s more basic that allowing animals with legs and wings to move around and treating them in a humane way? Californians do the right thing and vote ‘Yes’ on Prop 2.”

The show, however, was not one-sided. Opponents of Proposition 2 also had their say. Ryan Armstrong, a third-generation egg farmer from California, told the audience that if Proposition 2 passes, it will make eggs produced in California too expensive for most consumers, creating the possibility that eggs will be imported from places without these animal housing laws.  (However, in several other states the changes are already being made). 

A couple that now raises range-free veal calves successfully, says that in the long run, it is actually cheaper and less labor intensive to allow them to live freely, with their mothers. 

Another farmer who raises range free pigs and chickens says that food is all about energy, and the energy emitted from abused animals affects all of us who eat that meat in a negative way. 

Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Illinois Farm Bureau President Phil Nelson, who invited Winfrey to travel outside of Chicago and visit a farm in downstate Illinois.

Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Matt Kellogg, a hog farmer from Yorkville, Illinois who was featured on the program and talked about the experience.

Source: Drovers

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment