As many of you have read or heard on the news, an outbreak of Canine Influenza H3N2 has occurred once again. While this respiratory disease has stayed active throughout Chicago, it has come back to our area quite suddenly by sickening hundreds of dogs in just a few weeks. At least 2 shelters in Chicago and 2 shelters in Northwest Indiana have had to close their doors due to outbreaks. Tragically, there has also been one canine fatality. Due to the high rate of infection and ease of spreading we have required the Canine Influenza H3N2 vaccination for all dogs entering our hospital for boarding, grooming, daycare or bathing since January 1st of this year. We further continue to check temperatures on all dogs that are not up to date on the H3N2 influenza vaccine before they are allowed entrance to the back hospital and boarding area.
So, what are the signs of infection?? Dogs that present with the disease show signs of coughing as well as eye or nose discharge, a fever and can also display intestinal upset as well.
Further, there are confirmed cases of this strain of influenza, H3N2, infecting cats. Cats, however, tend to have less severe upper respiratory infections and be carriers of the virus. At this time, however, there is no influenza vaccine approved or recommended for cats.
So, then why vaccinate?? This strain of canine influenza is highly contagious and the symptoms are worse than the previous influenza strain (H3N8). With predictions that almost all dogs who come into contact with H3N2 will contract the infection, vaccination is key. Further, the H3N2 vaccine is a killed vaccine which means that there is no risk of your pet contracting influenza from the vaccination*. We want your pet to have the best protection against Canine Influenza so give us a call or send us an email to schedule your dog's appointment for protection today!!