CANINE INFLUENZA UPDATE- April 22, 2015

 

Canine influenza has officially arrived in Elmhurst- At DeVries Animal Hospital we saw 13 cases last week over 3 days. Most seem to recover in about 5-7 days with antibiotics (2 different kinds), and fluid therapy if needed, and cough suppressants if needed. 

At DeVries Animal Hospital we have been diligent in infection control and sanitation measures to keep the healthy dogs apart from the sick dogs.  We have dedicated one exam room to coughing dogs, and enter the room only after donning gowns, gloves and booties.  So far we have had no cross contamination, and hope to continue that trend. 

 We are learning new things every day about the epidemic.  Last week it was reported that a new strain (to the US) of influenza had been identified- the H3N2 strain, which came over from South Korea via an infected dog.  This strain was originally an avian flu strain, but jumped species to dogs in 2006.  Not seen before in the US, the illness it causes is similar to H3N8, the strain that we are familiar with here in the US.   There is no definitive test for H3N2 yet- they hope to have one in the next several weeks.  Treatment is the same as that for H3N8, and it does appear to be equally contagious. 

 The influenza virus is extremely contagious, and dogs can shed this virus for 3 days before showing any clinical signs.  10% of dogs will shed the virus for up to 10 days and never show illness.   The virus can live outside the body for 24-48 hours on surfaces, clothes, etc.  All this makes this outbreak very difficult to contain.  Mortality rate (e.g. dogs that have died from the illness) in the Chicago area so far is about 4-5%.  Over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area have been reported to have the influenza so far.  The virus is spreading in the Midwest- cases have now been reported in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, most likely attributable to the mobility of our  population.    

The biggest risk of exposure is contact with other dogs, so our recommendation continues to be to avoid bringing your dog to any area where they might have contact with other dogs- especially dog parks, boarding facilities, doggy day care, and grooming shops.  And, of course, special events where dogs congregate should be avoided.  With that in mind, the Spring Road Business Association has cancelled the Pet Parade this year.   Scheduled for May 16, this year would have been the 27th Annual Pet Parade.  Although it was a difficult decision, once the influenza was diagnosed in Elmhurst dogs, it was determined to be in everyone's best interest (especially the dog's!) to cancel the event for this year.    

At DeVries Animal Hospital we have notified all our dog owning clients of the outbreak and are recommending ALL dogs be vaccinated against the H3N8 influenza.  There is no vaccine against the H3N2 strain, but we have reason to believe that the current vaccine will offer some cross protection against the H3N2 strain.  Studies proving that have yet to be done.  The vaccine is a series of 2 doses given 3 weeks apart.  DeVries Animal Hospital has been offering the vaccines during designated vaccination clinic times, usually later in the day.  Patients must have been examined in the past year to be eligible for the vaccination clinic, otherwise the vaccine can be administered during a regular appointment with the doctor.

If your pet exhibits any respiratory signs, please contact our office for an appointment immediately.  We are requesting that any clients bringing in a coughing dog to please keep your dog in your car until we have an exam room ready for you. 

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Welcome to DeVries Animal Hospital. It is our desire to be of service to your pet and you, to offer information, advice, and assistance whenever needed. Our emphasis is on preventative health care to provide your pet a long and healthy life. We try to be alert of your needs, and should you have any ideas or suggestions which might help us to improve our service, please let us hear from you.

We are a full service animal hospital providing comprehensive healthcare services to pets in Elmhurst and the surrounding areas. Our veterinarians offer a wide variety of medical, surgical and dental services in our veterinary clinic.  We provide complete care for our patients.

Our veterinary hospital is well equipped with advanced equipment and technologies to provide the highest standard of care for your pet. Our facility has the equipment to provide comprehensive in house testing for accurate diagnosis, including x-ray, surgical suite, dental suite, pharmacy, and more.

At DeVries Animal Hospital we are committed to providing quality care at every stage of your pet's life. From routine preventive care for your pets to early detection and treatment of a wide range of conditions and diseases and surgical care, we have the expertise to provide the care your pet needs at every stage of life.

Please browse our website to learn more about our animal clinic and the services we provide for companion animals in Elmhurst and the surrounding areas. Read information in our Pet Library, view videos, take a virtual tour of our veterinary hospital, read testimonials, and find details about upcoming events. Please call our office today at (630)833-7387 for all your pet health care needs.