You may have heard of the most recent outbreak in the Midwest. So far, we have not seen any cases here at St. Francis Pet Care Center. Here is what we do know: This outbreak has affected over 1000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana this past month. Five of those cases were fatal. This is a new strain that has not been seen here in the United States (only in Asia). There is a Canine influenza vaccine on the market, but it was developed to protect against the more commonly seen H3N8 strain. It is unknown at this point if the vaccine will provide any protection against the vaccine. We will pass along any research announcements as soon as this determination has been made by the experts in the field.
So what do I do for my dog right now?
Read this article from the University of Wisconsin Influenza Research Institute. (http://www.news.wisc.edu/23656)
Determine if you would like to vaccinate your dog. Again, there are not any studies to indicate that the vaccine will or will not provide any protection against this outbreak, so we are not recommending it for all patients. We do have the vaccine on hand if you would prefer to vaccinate now, or we would be happy to speak with you further over the phone if you have additional questions.
Monitor your dog for any cough, runny nose or fever. Schedule an appointment right away if your pet is displaying symptoms.
Avoid bringing your dog into close contact with other dogs. Again, the outbreak has not reached Florida…but since it is very common for people to travel with their pets to our Sunshine State, it is possible that it will spread to this area.
Wash your hands and change your clothes if you are exposed to any sick dogs before handling your own pets at home.