Outbreak of Canine Influenza in Chicago, IL:
Caution Clients Who Traveled Last Weekend with Dogs
With families who traveled for the holiday weekend, there is a concern that the highly contagious virus will spread.
Although there have been no recent cases in Michigan, veterinarians are advised to recommend clients who are traveling with their dogs to keep them separated from all other dogs. Dog owners visiting Chicago should not take their dogs with them.
Members are encouraged to be cautious over the next several weeks when dogs are presenting with "kennel cough" symptoms. They are encouraged to inquire about pet travel as well. A non-core vaccine is also available for this disease.
As a refresher, signs of CIV include:
A dry hacking cough
Coughing up a white, foamy phlegm
Lack of appetite
Any suspected Canine Influenza case should be handled just as cautiously as Parvovirus and kennel cough. That means that any patient in the hospital that is suspicious of Canine Influenza and doesn't need oxygen should go into isolation; all isolation and disinfection protocols should be followed.
The H3N8 strain can be killed with quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach solutions with at least a dilution of 1:30. Pay attention to the manufacturer's directions for proper contact time for the most successful decontamination. The virus will also die on its own just by being on a labile object in the environment for 48 hours. Remember that only a limited number of staff members should be dealing with cases that are CIV suspect to decrease the risk of spreading.
What is Canine Influenza?
Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans. The “canine influenza virus” is an influenza A H3N8 influenza virus (not a human influenza virus) that was originally an equine (horse) influenza virus. This virus has spread to dogs and can now spread between dogs.
The H3N8 equine influenza virus has been known to exist in horses for more than 40 years. In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus. Scientists believe that this virus jumped species (from horses to dogs) and has now adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. This is now considered a dog-specific lineage of H3N8. In September of 2005, this virus was identified by experts as “a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.
Information from the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association