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10406 Highway 278 E.
Covington, Georgia 30014

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  • Canine Influenza Outbreak in Chicago

    Posted on April 20, 2015 by in community, dangerous, dog, info, Learning

    What is Canine Influenza virus H3N8?

    Canine influenza virus H3N8 causes a respiratory infection in dogs. Most dogs that develop the infection have a mild illness but some dogs develop severe signs such as pneumonia. The H3N8 strain of canine influenza was first isolated in Florida in 2004.

    Is there a vaccine for Canine Influenza virus H3N8?

    Yes! We carry the vaccine in the clinic at all times and highly recommend it if you take your dog to Florida, the Gulf Coast, or into Atlanta. Currently, the vaccination is not required at local boarding facilities or at our clinic if your pet boards with us or has surgery.

    What is the issue in Chicago having a Canine Influenza outbreak?

    Veterinarians noticed an increase in respiratory illness in March 2015 in the Chicago area. The dogs had signs of respiratory system issues (coughing, eye and nose discharge, lethargy, etc.) and some of the dogs had more severe signs like pneumonia. By using the history of the pet’s recent exposure (boarding, doggie day care, grooming, dog parks, etc) and comparing with the spread of the illness, it was suspected that the virus was infectious.

    What kind of testing has been done to identify the infection?

    Veterinarians have submitted samples from the sick dogs to diagnostic laboratories to help figure out what pathogen is causing the issues. Testing has taken place at Cornell and out of almost 250 samples submitted and finalized (between March 16th and April 7th 2015), 138 dogs tested positive for Canine Influenza. After further evaluation, Cornell and the University of Wisconsin have identified the strain of virus as H3N2.

    What is the deal with the Canine Influenza strain H3N2?

    This is the first time that the H3N2 strain has been found in North America.
    Prior to this outbreak in Chicago, an outbreak of the avian origin H3N2 influenza virus in pet dogs occurred in South Korea in 2007. The Avian origin H3N2 influenza virus was also isolated in clinically ill dogs in southern China in 2006 and 2007.

    Will the Canine Influenza H3N8 (which we have available) protect against the new H3N2 strain?

    The Merck vaccine that we carry has been proven to provide protection against the H3N8 strain that has been found in the state of Georgia. While this vaccine may provide an amount of cross protection against other strains of canine influenza (such as the H3N2 strain), it is not known if the vaccine will provide protection from the new strain at this time.
    Studies are currently being done to determine if cross protection is possible with the current vaccine.
    However, at this point, it should be mentioned that all of the dogs who have tested positive for canine influenza HAVE NOT received any vaccination for canine influenza.


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