If This Dog Could Talk: The Dogist


Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) has launched the multi-city If This Dog Could Talk tour to raise awareness of canine influenza virus (CIV) or dog flu. Last year, about half the country was affected by CIV.

The Doggist Elias Weiss Friedman

The Doggist Elias Weiss Friedman

The Dogist documentary series tells unique stories about the lives of dogs through photographs, celebrating the beauty of dogs,” said Elias Weiss Friedman, The Dogist creator. “One of the most important stories to tell is about a dog’s health needs, so I am excited to collaborate on this campaign to help more pet owners understand the importance of protecting their dogs against canine influenza.”

As part of the campaign, Merck Animal Health will host pop-up events at local dog parks in areas of the country impacted by dog flu outbreaks. The first event will be held in Chicago, the viruses kind of town for flu. Chicago has the distinction of being the town with the initial outbreak, and likely more sickened dogs than any other city. And the dog flu is continuing right now to persist in the City of Broad dog flu shoulders.

with Dr. Natalie Marks

with Dr. Natalie Marks

Saturday, July 23 8 a.m. to noon meet Dr Natalie Marks and Friedman at Lakeshore Park East, 450 E. Benton Place in Chicago (a beautiful park hidden away near downtown).

My sometimes partner in crime, Dr.  Marks, co-owner of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago says, “I’m part of this initiative because I’ve seen the devastating impact of CIV first hand— from a dog’s health and the emotional toll it takes on owners, to the impact it can have on local businesses and the community.” When CIV broke in our area, we were seeing upwards of 15 cases a day and were working tirelessly to contain the spread of a very infectious strain of the (dog flu) disease, H3N2.”

The Doggist Elias Weiss Friedman - jailbreak dog

The Doggist Elias Weiss Friedman – jailbreak dog

Canine influenza can spread quickly among social dogs in urban areas, doggie daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks, sporting and show events and any location where dogs co-mingle. Through the If This Dog Could Talk initiative, pet owners will gain important insight into how a dog’s story – or lifestyle – can lead to an increased risk of that dog contracting canine influenza. They will also learn about specific preventative measures that can be taken, including vaccination.

photo by Elias Weiss Friedman

photo by Elias Weiss Friedman

In addition to engaging with a local veterinarian during each event, pet owners will also have the opportunity to meet and have their dogs photographed by The Dogist. Several dogs that were impacted by canine influenza will also be highlighted during the events—including incredible photos and their stories which will be memorialized in an e-book produced by The Dogist.

Those who are unable to attend an event are encouraged to support the campaign to raise awareness of canine influenza by posting photos of their dogs on Twitter using #IfThisDogCouldTalk and tagging @MerckAH. Select photos could also be featured in The Dogist e-book. For updates on local events, look out for posts from The Dogist on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about canine influenza, visit HERE . Owners who suspect their dog may have canine influenza or are concerned about their risk should speak with their veterinarian.

“At Merck Animal Health, we are pet owners and dog lovers ourselves and we know firsthand the joy dogs bring to our lives and the important role they play in our families,” said Dr. Kathleen Heaney, executive director, Companion Animal Technical Services, Merck Animal Health. “This is why we are so committed to ensuring that pet owners have the information and resources needed to protect their four-legged family members from this preventable disease.”

Dr Marks appears Sunday, July 17, 6:35AM CDT on WGN Radio to talk dog flu, and also we’ll chat dog park etiquette, 720AM or listen HERE.