Ventura, CA – The doctors at Anacapa Animal Hospital are following the incoming information on the Canine Influenza Outbreak in Chicago very closely. In an effort to help clarify the abundance of information now in circulation, and to better educate our clients and community about this emerging infectious disease we offer the following summary of information and recommendations. We have access to information being provided within the veterinary community and are consulting with specialists in the area. The information and recommendations are evolving, but currently the consensus is that the best prevention is to avoid dog parks, grooming and boarding facilities in the outbreak zone (Chicago, IL). These recommendations do not currently apply to dogs here in Ventura County. That being said, any dog seen for coughing and a fever should be tested for canine influenza and given supportive treatment either in isolation at the hospital or at home, separated from other dogs for about 3 weeks.
The vaccine currently available for canine influenza is for a different strain of canine influenza virus(H3N8) than the one affecting the more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago (H3N2). Most specialists feel that the available vaccine does not protect against the current active strain of flu, H3N2. Even before the emergence of the new strain, the vaccine did not fully prevent the symptoms of the previous canine influenza strain (H3N8), but only diminished the severity of the flu symptoms. That being said, the only downside to giving the vaccine is the potential for a vaccine reaction. Due to the currently low risk in this area we do not currently carry this vaccine.
According to the Cornell University Veterinary College, both Influenza strains can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. Symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus. Some infected dogs may not show symptoms at all. H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats, as well.
We will continue to follow this outbreak closely and relay any updates as appropriate. If you have questions, concerns, or interest in getting your dog vaccinated for Canine Influenza please contact our office by email at – HereToHelp@anacapavet.com or using our contact us page.
J. Burner, DVM, MS
Anacapa Animal Hospital – Ventura, CA