The Chicago Tribune is reporting canine influenza in dogs in the Chicago area.  These are the first reported cases oin Illinois. Canine influenza has now been reported in 27 American states. It has also been previously identified in the UK.

Here are some canine flu facts:

  • Canine influenza originated from an equine influenza virus.
  • Canine influenza can cause a wide range of clinical signs, ranging from mild illness (cough, fever, decreased appetite and activity) to very severe (and potentially fatal) pneumonia.
  • Dogs that have frequent contact with other dogs (e.g. in kennels or parks) or dogs in shelters are at higher risk of catching the virus.
  • About 80% of dogs that are exposed to this virus will get sick.
  • Most affected dogs recover fully.
  • Canine influenza cannot be diagnosed just by looking at the dog. Various other bacteria and viruses can cause similar disease.
  • Because the disease is caused by a virus, it can NOT be treated directly with antibiotics (just like influenza in people!)
  • There is no vaccine for canine influenza.
  • Canine influenza is not transmissible to people.
  • Try to keep your dog away from any dogs that looks ill, particularly those that are coughing.
  • If your dog starts coughing or looks otherwise sick, you should take your dog to the vet, especially if your dog has been in a kennel, shelter or in contact with another sick dog.

More information about control of canine influenza can be found on the American Veterinary Medical Association Public Health Information website.

To our knowledge, there are still no reported cases of canine influenza in Canada. However, it seems inevitable that the virus will eventually make its way north of the US border, considering the number of US states that are now affected.