By now you’ve hopefully heard about a virus that is spreading like crazy through the dog population of Chicago. In fact, it has reached epidemic levels.
It is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a highly contagious strain known as H3N8. The Cook County Animal Control has reported that between January and March fived dogs have died due to this disease.
It cannot be harmful to humans but is highly contagious between dogs – even up to 20 feet away. Currently in Chicago more than 1,000 cases of the disease have been reported. 5% of cases are usually fatal. There have also been reports of the disease spreading to parts of Wisconsin and Indiana.
What to look for in your dog
- Sneezing/Nasal Discharge
- Difficulty Breathing
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Energy
Symptoms can last as long as two weeks. The virus can be spread if humans pet dogs that are infected and then pet a healthy dog. Veterinarians in Chicago are recommending that all dogs be vaccinated against this canine flu. The dogs most at-risk are dogs under a year old or over seven years old. And most veterinarians say that this virus could continue to be a major threat for a few more weeks. Many Chicago-area pet facilities are taking this virus very seriously. Daycares are being shut down and it is warned that dog parks should be avoided.
What you can do
- Get your dog vaccinated
- Keep your dogs away from anywhere where they are in close contact with other dogs (dog parks, day care centers, groomers, etc.)
- Monitor your dog
- Speak with your veterinarian about any concerns
- Keep up to date and monitor news outlets before exposing your dog to social situations
If your dog has presented symptoms or you believe they have contracted the illness, please contact your vet immediately. Please also inform PPM so that we may take proper precautions in letting residents know if their dog may have been exposed.