dog examination by veterinary doctor with stethoscope in clinicFor the past year, Chicagoland dogs have battled canine influenza. Similar to the strain that’s been circulating for several years (H3N8), the current strain known as H3N2 was originally identified in certain parts of Asia. In 2015, it landed at O’Hare International Airport and has since spread to twenty-four states across the country.   

The reason this strain is considered so virulent is because American dogs have virtually no immunity against it. Here in Glen Ellyn, we continue to treat local dogs for canine influenza, and we urge you to take every step to preserve your dog’s health. 

A Clear View

There are many questions that come to mind when confronted with an infectious illness. Let’s flesh out some of the basics about canine influenza:

  • The H3N2 strain was an avian virus that gained the ability to infect dogs.
  • The virus causes a cough that can lead to severe respiratory issues, as well as fever, lethargy, and thick nasal discharge.
  • It’s highly contagious. Puppies, senior pets, and pets who are ill are more susceptible to symptoms. In some cases, canine flu can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or dehydration, often requiring emergency care.
  • Evidence suggests that cats living in Asia can be infected with this particular strain. So far, the U.S. has not had the same experience.  
  • Avoid Canine Influenza

    Because the virus affects every dog differently, we recommend an approach that lies between vigilance and avoidance. For example, don’t allow your pet to get too close to another dog that displays respiratory secretions. Similarly, try to avoid surfaces or environments that may be contaminated. This includes pet stores, dog parks, and other areas with high concentrations of animals. Germs can remain on fabric, flooring, objects, or even human hands, putting your dog at risk.

    Good News

    Most dogs diagnosed with canine influenza recover in 2-3 weeks. Treatment typically includes the following:

  • Overnight observation
  • Rest and fluids
  • Medication
  • Antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection develops
  • At this time, our veterinarians and staff recommend local dogs be vaccinated against canine influenza. This protects your pet and ensures he or she won’t be turned away from boarding facilities, groomers, day cares, or certain modes of transportation (review our flyer before making boarding accommodations).

    For more information, please watch this video that features our very own Dr. Beisner. With such a proactive community of pet owners, we hope the H3N2 strain levels out soon so all dogs can get back to what they do best: enjoying the good life.

    As always, we’re available to answer questions and address any concerns you may have. Stay well, Glen Ellyn pets!