UPDATE: April 2, 2018- The busy boarding season for Spring Break has passed without any influenza cases, while an outbreak in Las Vegas has confirmed 52 cases of canine influenza. We remain vigilant but cautiously optimistic that the vaccine has stopped the spread of the influenza virus in the Chicago area.
UPDATE: January 28, 2018- Elmhurst remains free of Canine Influenza while it continues to spread around the country. Ohio reported an outbreak recently and local shelters that adopt pets from areas where the influenza is active are at risk of bringing pets to the Chicago area infected with the virus. Last week the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge had to shut down its facility due to severe respiratory illness in their dog population. Canine influenza has not been confirmed, but we are watching the situation closely.
UPDATE: August 7, 2017- Elmhurst remains Canine Influenza free so far this summer, despite the high level of boarding activity. Cases of influenza have been reported, however, in eastern Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. A number of cases were linked to exposure at a dog shows held in Perry, Georgia and Deland, Florida. The vaccine continues to be very effective in preventing outbreaks of this severe respiratory disease. Dog owners should not board their dogs without first getting them vaccinated with the new H3N2 influenza vaccine, a series of two injections given 3 weeks apart, which will provide 12 months of protection.
UPDATE: April 25, 2017- Canine influenza has not been detected in Elmhurst during the busy spring break boarding season. The new Influenza vaccine against the H3N2 has made a significant impact on reducing the incidence of influenza. Now required by most boarding facilities, an initial series of 2 vaccinations separated by 3 weeks provides 12 months of protection against this nasty viral infection.
UPDATE: February 13, 2017- Canine influenza is back in the news with the report of an outbreak at the Chicago Anti Cruelty Society. First identified in 2015, Chicago remains the epicenter of where the disease started in the United States. While Elmhurst had several outbreaks in 2015 and 2016, we have been influenza free for the last 8 months. This can be attributed to the vaccine that was developed specifically for the current strain of influenza, the H3N2 virus. Most boarding facilities are requiring the vaccine to board, and this has greatly reduced the incidence of the disease. Any dog that goes to day care, is boarded, or congregates with other dogs should be vaccinated against the H3N2 strain of influenza. Initially a series of 2 vaccines separated by 3 weeks, the vaccine should be boostered annually.
UPDATE: December 19, 2016- We are happy to report that no new influenza cases have been reported in the last 3 months. Elmhurst remains influenza free at this time. We are, however, approaching the heavy boarding season over Christmas, so make sure if you board your dogs that they are protected against the NEW H3N2 influenza with the vaccine. Make sure the kennel you board at requires the vaccine to reduce outbreaks of the influenza.
UPDATE: June 13, 2016 It was a fairly quiet spring with regards to the Canine Influenza- there were no major outbreaks in the Elmhurst area during the heavy spring break boarding session. There continue to be outbreaks at boarding facilities throughout the Chicago area, although not as severe as before. The Humane Society in Northwest Indiana had to close in late spring due to ongoing influenza cases. The vaccine against H3N2 influenza strain seems to be very effective, and many kennels are now requiring the vaccine in order for your pet to board.
The virus has now been identified in cats in a shelter in northwest Indiana, causing respiratory illness. Overall, infection in cats has been rare, and no confirmed cases have been identified in the Chicago area.
The best protection against the virus continues to be vaccination with the new H3N2 vaccine. We recommend vaccinating ALL dogs against this highly contagious virus that causes severe respiratory illness. The vaccine is a series of 2 injections given 3 weeks apart. High risk exposure situations continue to include boarding and doggie day care facilities. If you are planning on boarding your dog, confirm that your boarding kennel requires the H3N2 vaccine of all dogs that are on the premises. Consider alternate kennels if they do not require the vaccine, because your dog could be exposed to the virus and become ill. The virus is extremely contagious and causes severe respiratory illness often leading to pneumonia. About 1-3% of dogs that are infected will die from the infection. Our experience with the illness is that brachycephalic breeds (Boston Terriers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, etc) are affected more severely and suffer more respiratory distress that other breeds when they become ill. At DeVries Animal Hospital we continue to follow strict sanitation protocols for any pet exhibiting respiratory signs. We are happy to report that we have had no cross contamination between healthy and ill pets to date. Please contact us if you have any questions about the latest information.
UPDATE: January 18, 2016 Is it safe to take my dog to…..????
Boarding or Doggie Day Care? A retrospective study of influenza cases showed that 8 out of 10 cases were related to boarding facilities exposure. Middle ages dogs were hardest by the influenza, with 71% of the cases being dogs age 1-7. Make sure your pet is vaccinated with the new H3N2 strain of influenza vaccine before boarding or day care. The vaccine will greatly reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, and helps prevent the pneumonia so often seen in cases of influenza. All the cases DeVries Animal Hospital treated in 3 outbreaks were related to boarding facilities.
Grooming? The risk of exposure at a grooming facility is much less. At DeVries Animal Hospital we have seen no cases of influenza related to grooming facilities. Again, vaccination against the H3N2 strain provides the best protection against this viral infection. Ask your groomer what steps are being taken to sanitize cages and tables between pets and ask about any history of outbreaks from their facility.
Obedience Class? The risk is fairly minor due to short duration of most classes. We have seen no cases of influenza related to exposure at obedience classes.
Dog Park? At DeVries Animal Hospital we treated one dog that had only been to a community park that contracted the respiratory infection, and no cases associated with dog parks. Although the virus can live outside the body for 48 hours, it is unlikely it will survive in cold termperatures seen in winter time.
UPDATE: December 8, 2015- Elmhurst remains influenza free and we are working hard to vaccinate as many dogs as possible against the new H3N2 virus- the new vaccine arrived last week. Canine influenza remains in the area, however, as a major boarding facility near O’Hare airport reported an outbreak over Thanksgiving weekend. We anticipate more outbreaks will occur over the busy holiday boarding season, so dog owners are encouraged to get their dogs vaccinated against the new H3N2 NOW, so that they will be at least partially protected if they board over the Christmas holidays. Full protection is rendered 3 weeks after the second vaccination is given.
UPDATE: December 4, 2015- GREAT NEWS!! A vaccine against the NEW strain of Canine Influenza, H3N2, is now available. Having treated three outbreaks of the canine flu, we HIGHLY recommend vaccinating ALL dogs against this extremely contagious virus. Dogs most at risk are those that board, go to daycare or grooming. However, the virus can be contracted from the environment anywhere- it can live outside the body for up to 48 hours, so all dogs are at risk. A series of 2 vaccines is required initially and while it takes 3-4 wks to provide full protection, some protection is provided shortly after the first vaccine. Call today to find out when the vaccinations are being given!
UPDATE: November 15, 2015- EXCITING NEWS: We have just been notified that Zoetis Animal Health, a major provider of veterinary products, has developed a vaccine against the H3N2 canine influenza virus. We hope to have more information soon about the availability of this product. Zoetis has been on the forefront of the influenza outbreak, gathering samples and providing support to veterinarians in the investigation and identification of the H3N2 virus. DeVries Animal Hospital has a long history and working relationship with Zoetis, and we are excited at the prospect of being able to prevent this illness with a product from such a reputable manufacturer. Check back to see when this vaccine will become available.
UPDATE: November 9, 2015- The outbreak of CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease), which includes the Canine Influenza, seems to have passed. We treated about 13 dogs and all have recovered. Have had some discussions with the affected boarding facility, and they have made changes to their operations and protocols as well as modifications to their ventilation system to try to reduce future incidents. CIRD will continue to be a risk to all boarding facilities, and pet owners are urged to continue to be vigilant and check with your boarding facility regarding incidence of CIRD before boarding your pets. Please continue to check with us as we will continue to post updates about incidences of CIRD.
UPDATE: October27, 2015- We have treated another 9 dogs in the last week for CIRD (Caninie Infectious Respiratory Disease)- symptoms have been identical to the outbreak of influenza in April and July. Eight of the nine dogs were boarded at the same kennel in north Elmhurst which has had two prior outbreaks. One case required advanced care at the local critical care center, while the others are recovering well at home. During this outbreak, we did treat one dog with absolutely no boarding exposure that experienced severe respiratory infection symptoms. He was only walked around the block and in Wilder Park. This is significant in that while we know the influenza virus can live outside the body for up to 48 hours on inanimate objects, we had not experienced this prior to this case. We encourage dog owners to be vigilant for signs of respiratory illness and to consult their veterinarian for care as soon as symptoms start, especially if there has been a history of boarding or day care.
UPDATE: October17, 2015- We are sad to report the return of a severe respiratory illness once again in a boarding facility in Elmhurst. Although Canine Influenza has not been confirmed, these cases are presenting similar to previous outbreaks, with fever, severe cough, decreased appetite and lethargy. This is the third outbreak this year at the same boarding facility. Pet owners are reminded again to check with your boarding and day care facility about current conditions and presence or absence of respiratory illnesses.
UPDATE: September 21, 2015- The Elmhurst remains free of canine influenza at this point. We continue to recommend vigilance for the onset of any respiratory signs after contact with other pets. There continue to be reports of respiratory illness in the western suburbs, but Elmhurst facilities are clear at this point.
UPDATE: August 25, 2015- The influenza outbreak seems to have subsided, in Elmhurst at least. It is still present in some rescue facilities in Chicago. All cases that we treated recently have resolved successfully, and no new cases have developed. We are anxiously awaiting the development of a vaccine against the H3N2 virus- two manufacturers have indicated that they are working on it. We learn more about the virus with every outbreak, and apply that knowledge going forward. Our isolation efforts were again successful as we had no cross contamination, although we looked like travelers in outer space in our isolation gowns, booties and gloves! Stay tuned for more news as we make periodic updates
UPDATE: August 7, 2015- We have had a busy week treating patients exposed to the respiratory illness last week at a local boarding kennel. The kennel has confirmed that three organisms have been cultured from affected dogs- the H3N2 virus, a pneumovirus, and Canine Coronavirus. Of these, the confirmation of H3N2 is of most concern and likely responsible for most of the cases being presented for medical care. At DeVries Animal Hospital we have treated 15 patients so far- 2 other local veterinary clinics also have reported seeing cases this past week. We are seeing that dogs either present as very sick or only mildly affected. Symptoms include fever, coughing, lethargy, anorexia (decreased or no appetite), and some vomiting has been noted, thought often it seems to be related to the intensity of the cough. Sicker dogs have been coughing up phlegm and white foam, while milder cases have not. A brief review of our cases so far suggest that dogs that were vaccinated against H3N8 virus with the flu vaccine are not getting as sick as those that did not receive the vaccine. Two patients had only received one of the two recommended doses and also had the milder form. Although not scientific proof, this suggests that the vaccine, although not specific for the H3N2 virus, may offer some protection in the form of less severe or shorter duration for the course of the illness.
UPDATE: JULY 31, 2015- Canine Influenza has returned to Elmhurst. We received reports today that dogs boarded at a local kennel have been experiencing dog flu symptoms. At DeVries Animal Hospital we saw our first case this afternoon that is highly suggestive of canine influenza. Dogs boarded between Sunday 7/26 and Wednesday 7/29 should be monitored closely for any respiratory symptoms- it may take up to 7 days to show any symptoms. Initial reports suggest that even dogs vaccinated against H3N8 have come down with some symptoms of the flu- we are hoping that vaccinated dogs will experience a shorter and less severe course of the disease if exposed to the H3N2 virus, the current strain. We will again be implementing strict sanitation measures and precautions to keep the healthy and sick dogs apart, as we did in April. Dog owners are encouraged to call their boarding facility to inquire about the health of dogs boarding there before boarding their own pets. During the outbreak in April, the highest risk was boarding and day care- no cases were reported from exposure at grooming shops or dog parks, although there is some risk. Since the Chicago area was ground zero for the outbreak in March and April, veterinarians and dog owners have a heightened awareness of the influenza outbreak, and it is hoped that this time around the number of cases will be fewer as people act swiftly to treat and isolate sick pets and avoid high risk situations.
UPDATE: JULY 28, 2015- We just received word that several new H2N2 influenza cases have been confirmed at several veterinary practices in the Lincoln Park area. Several of these dogs did receive the vaccine against H3N8 virus, raising concern about the amount of cross-protection offered by the H3N8 vaccine towards the H3N2 virus. Check back for further updates.
UPDATE: JULY 20, 2015- We continue to remain Influenza free, despite boarding season being in full swing. We continue to encourage dog owners to get their dogs vaccinated against the Influenza virus, especially if they are boarding their pets or if their pets go to doggy day care.
UPDATE: JUNE 20, 2015- The area remains free of canine Influenza, however, Chicago Animal Control has reported several influenza patients that broke with a recurrence of respiratory disease 3-5 weeks after fully recovering from the influenza. Cultures indicate it is NOT a recurrence of influenza, but rather other organisms causing CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease), including Bordetalla and Mycoplasma. We are monitoring these new events and caution all pet owners whose pets had the influenza to watch for a recurrence of symptoms.
UPDATE: JUNE 5, 2015- We continue to be Influenza free. There have been no reports in the area of any new influenza cases. We continue to be vigilant and will continue to update this page as new information or cases become known. We continue to recommend dog owners get their dogs vaccinated against the influenza, as a recurrence of cases is likely.
UPDATE: MAY 16, 2015- Elmhurst continues to be influenza free. No new cases have been reported. At DeVries Animal Hospital we continue our campaign to vaccinate as many dogs as possible with the canine influenza vaccine. Summer boarding season is approaching, and we continue to advise dog owners to consult with their boarding facility to find out what their status is with regards to new cases. Additionally, have your pet checked asap if any respiratory signs develop, especially if they have been exposed to other dogs in the last 7 days.
UPDATE: MAY 7, 2015- The initial outbreak seems to have passed, and we have experienced no new cases since the second week of April. Additionally, none of the boarding facilities or groomers in Elmhurst have experienced any new cases. New cases have been reported to the west in Kane and McHenry Counties, as well as in Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin. At DeVries Animal Hospital we have vaccinated approximately 300 dogs against influenza, and hope that the initial spike of influenza cases is all that we will see. Dog owners are still cautioned to avoid contact with other dogs when unnecessary and that the virus could make a re-appearance as summer boarding season begins. However, in the absence of new cases, it is probably acceptable to resume your normal pet activities within the next few weeks. My dog, for one, can't wait to resume his visits to the dog park- he is going absolutely stir crazy!
April 16, 2015 Canine influenza has officially arrived in Elmhurst- At DeVries Animal Hospital we saw 13 cases over 3 days during the week of April 13-18. Most recovered 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. Mid April 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.