Due to the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza Virus (CVI) in Chicago, and one confirmed case in the Madison area, we want to provide everyone with some information on this disease.
The symptoms of this disease are mild in most dogs - including coughing, sometimes with nasal discharge, but about 10% of dogs develop a more severe form of the disease which can require hospitalization.
Who is at Risk: Settings where numerous dogs are together in high-density areas, especially indoors, have higher risk-factor. Dog shows or shelters where dogs come together from potentially far and wide and share secretions are the highest risk category. Indoor dog kennels / daycare are at some risk also. Dog parks, if the wrong dog just happens to be there, also do pose some risk.
Canine influenza virus can be spread by direct contact with respiratory discharge from infected dogs, through the air via a cough, bark, or sneeze, and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls and clothing.
Symptoms: Infected dogs will have any or all of the following: fever, listlessness, poor appetite, coughing, and/or a snotty nose.
How to prevent: Do not allow your dog to socialize with coughing dogs. If your dog develops a cough, your dog should be seen for an exam.
UPDATE: Recent information from the veterinary laboratories testing for the virus revealed that the virus found in dogs from Chicago is a new strain of Canine Influenza (H3N2), not H3N8 as previously suspected. This new strain - similar to H3N8 - is not transmissable to humans - but can infect cats which is a notable difference. It is unknown at this time how much protection the current available vaccine (for the H3N8 strain) will provide for this new strain.
The vaccine available for the H3N8 requires 2 doses of vaccine 2 weeks apart. It is generally a well tolerated vaccine. Adverse events reported were similar to those seen with other common canine vaccines and included vomiting, lethargy, and minor injection site swelling.
We are following the UW School of Veterinary Medicine's advice and are recommending that all high risk dogs be vaccinated.
If you have further questions, please call us at 608-270-1070, and more information can be found on Veterinary Partner here: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2165