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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

Deadly Dog Flu Spreads

Aug. 18, 2009Canine influenza, the potentially deadly H3N8 virus commonly knownDeadly Dog Flu as dog flu, is spreading.

So far the virus has led to the death of one dog last week, closed down the kennel at Virginia’s Fairfax County Animal Shelter, and, according to experts, is now affecting dogs in at least four other states: Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

While the reason for the shelter outbreak, which killed a 15-year-old whippet owned by a clinical technician and sickened 26 dogs, remains unknown, it’s possible that one or more infected dogs from Philadelphia or D.C. introduced the illness to Virginia.

“Dogs often move in and out of shelter systems over long distances, such as via breed and rescue groups,” Edward Dubovi, director of the virology center at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, told Discovery News.

“Boarding kennels and even elite doggie day care centers can also result in cases, since, as for kennel cough spread, the virus is highly contagious and dogs may catch it from one another,” added Dubovi.

He first isolated the canine influenza virus in 2004, after University of Florida researchers sent him fluid and tissue samples from greyhound race dogs that had died from a then mysterious respiratory illness at a Florida racetrack.

Dubovi and his team determined the cause was the H3N8 equine flu virus, which jumped from horses to dogs. In addition to spreading from dog to dog, canines can also catch it from humans, who may have come into contact with infected animals.

The illness has not yet sickened any people.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment