Dog Flu: Big Sneeze in Central Illinois


It’s impossible to predict where the canine influenza virus will hit next. A booster is needed several weeks after the initial vaccine, and when it hits it (strain H3N2) often does so quickly.  So, not vaccinating because ‘it’s not here.’ doesn’t seem to me to be a responsible answer.

Most recently the dog flu has sickened, according to local reports, hundreds of dogs in the Bloomington-Normal, IL in May.

Though rarely fatal, canine influenza is worrisome because few dogs have been exposed so they have no built-in immune protection. Complicating matters, about a quarter of the dogs exposed do get the virus, but they don’t get sick. That’s good for those individuals, though they are still contagious and are efficient at spreading the virus.

It seems, at least according to reports, no dogs have died as a result of this outbreak, but the emergency clinic has been kept busy. And over the course of the past year (about the time the flu first hit in Chicago), most certainly dogs have succumbed as a result of the flu, all over the country. Most do recover, but some need expensive supportive care, many just feel lousy and their coughing may keep human family members up overnight.  Why not avoid all that?