If you are among most dog owners who believe the dog flu is done with and gone – you are wrong, according to Dr. Donna Alexander, Cook County veterinarian.
There are Dog Flu hot spots around the country (though, so far, Chicago area is the only epidemic). I’ve just learned that Iowa now many many confirmed cases. And while instances of dog flu have diminished in some Chicago area regions, it’s grown in others.
I know people are getting tired of not socializing there dogs – but that is a part of the answer. So is vaccination.
Many are asking questions, I’ve arranged for a FREE Google Hangout, at 10 AM CDT, April 28 (today), hosted by BlogPaws with Dr. Jill Lopez to answer questions. Dr. Lopez, senior Specialist Drug Safety at Merck Animal Health, flew into Chicago to host a seminar for veterinary professionals about the canine influenza virus (which I attended), and will now be here for you – to answer best she can. I will also be available to answer questions.
If you’ve not participated in a Hangout before – it’s pretty easy. Just follow the link – http://blogp.ws/1KoSWD1.
What I do know is this:
– The dog flu, the H3N2 strain from South Korea/China, is still the greater Chicagoland area.
– We can all protect our own dogs by socializing them FAR less:
NO dog parks.
VERY cautious about training classes and only IF serious precautions (some say they take precautions – but they mean nothing really) are put into place.
Please do NOT take your dogs to pet stores. I am shocked that the major chains still have signs welcoming dogs inside – shame on them!
In elevators where there have been dogs, if you can, pick up your dog
I am VERY skeptical about dog day care where dogs intermingle
I am VERY skeptical about boarding facilities
Choose dog walkers (who walk only dogs from one home at a time and who use antibiotic wipes between clients), perhaps also an alternative to dog daycare.
Be cautious about meeting nose to nose with other dogs on walks
– Consider the vaccine for the dog flu that we do have (for the H3N8 strain).
It’s important to understand many dogs with the virus (around 20 to 25 percent) are asymptotic but still are contagious. Also, all dogs are very contagious before they get sick themselves. And the virus can live on clothing and surfaces like rugs in elevators, etc. No dog (except dogs recently recovered from this virus or possibly vaccinated dogs) have any immunity.