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Canine Influenza

NEW DEVELOPMENT in canine influenza outbreak

There is new information regarding the canine influenza (CI) outbreak in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest, and it is not encouraging. Information released today indicates that Cornell University, working in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin, have found that the causative agent is not the H3N8 strain as previously thought; rather, the virus responsible for this outbreak is the H3N2 strain. The Sun Prairie Pet Clinic does not know the specific strain of the virus found in the Dane County case. The H3N2 virus has been identified previously in Asia, but never before in North America.

The H3N2 strain has been in wide distribution in Asia (southern China and South Korea) since it was found in 2006. This virus causes a similar respiratory disease in dogs as the H3N8 version, though many clinicians feel that the symptoms are more severe with the Asia strain. The overall mortality rate is similar at about 5%. Humans are not susceptible to this virus, but it has been shown to infect and cause respiratory disease in cats. There is no vaccine available for the H3N2 strain of the canine influenza virus.

With this new information, several new questions arise. How is this virus transmitted? How can I protect my dog? Is there a vaccine available? We know the answer to some, but not all, of these questions.

As with the H3N8 strain, the best way to slow the spread of this disease is avoidance of areas where dogs congregate, good hygiene, and good sanitation. This strain transmits in the same manner as H3N8, with dog-to-dog contact the primary route. The virus remains viable (alive) on solid surfaces for 48 hours and clothing for 24 hours. The virus is killed with a wide variety of disinfectants, and routine hand washing with soap and water is effective in removing the virus from hands.

The canine influenza vaccine currently available provides good protection from the H3N8 strain of canine influenza. Protection from the H3N2 strain has not been tested and cannot be assumed. Cross-protection may by present; it simply has not been tested to date.

After taking all these factors into consideration, the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic recommends that dog owners continue to take the same precautions previously put forward – avoid areas where dos congregate if possible, avoid kenneling dogs if possible, and monitor the number of cases locally to judge risk of these activities.

The currently available vaccine is safe and effective at preventing disease from H3N8 Canine Influenza virus but has not been tested against the H3N2 strain. It is possible that the current vaccine can provide some benefit to dogs against H3N2. Because this vaccine is safe, effective against a serious canine respiratory disease, cost effective, and might help with the Asia strain of canine influenza, continued use of this vaccine is advocated.

As more information is made available, we will update this site.

Click here for the updated information from Cornell University

By |April 13th, 2015|Canine Influenza, News|

Protect Your Dog from Dog Flu (Canine Influenza)

As we are preparing for more cases of Dog Flu (Canine Influenza) in the Sun Prairie, Madison and Dane County area, here are some tips on how to protect your dog.

Tips to Protect Your Dog

If you are interested in vaccinating your dog for canine influenza, the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic has the vaccine in stock.

By |April 9th, 2015|Canine Influenza, News|

Canine Influenza reported in Dane County

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection released an alert indicating that there has been a confirmed case of Canine Influenza (CI) in Dane County. The confirmation was made this week. Based on the behavior of this outbreak in Chicago, we can expect a significant number of dogs to become infected.

CI is spread through dog to dog contact, and will transmit readily between dogs that are at dog parks, dog day care, boarding facilities, grooming facilities, or other congregation sites (competitions and dog shows, etc.). Detailed information regarding CI is posted on our website, and also available through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites.

Vaccination is recommended for dogs that are are risk due to social behavior. The vaccine can provide full protection from the disease, but not always. The vaccine is effective at reducing the duration of illness and degree of virus spread in most dogs, but it is important to note that a dog must receive 2 doses of vaccine, spaced 2 to 3 weeks apart, before protection can begin; full protection may not be achieved for 4 weeks.

Please call the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic if you have any questions about this emerging threat to our canine family members.

Canine Influenza Outbreak Update

Canine Influenza Outbreak Update
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Canine Influenza outbreak continues to grow in size. This morning we became aware that PetSmart is temporarily closing three of its PetsHotel pet boarding facilities in the Chicago area and encouraging pet owners to use other facilities. The shut down is designed to slow the outbreak of Canine Influenza and give the boarding facility an opportunity to disinfect the premises. The Chicago Park District has posted signs to dog-friendly areas that pets and pet owners enter at their own risk. While there have been 5 reported deaths attributable to the outbreak, the overall mortality rate continues to be low (less than 5% of all cases).

Click below for local Chicago links related to this outbreak:



By |April 8th, 2015|Canine Influenza, News|

Canine Influenza

Currently Sun Prairie Pet Clinic is closely monitoring the incidence of a Canine Influenza outbreak that is taking place in Chicago.

Canine Influenza (CI), also known as ‘dog flu’ is an influenza virus that was first recognized as a novel canine disease in 2004.  The initial cases involved racing Greyhounds in Florida; since that time there have been cases recorded in 30 states, with the disease now recognized as endemic (meaning it is now a commonly noted disease) in parts of Colorado, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Similar to other influenza viruses, CI has been classified based on its unique structure; the CI that is responsible for the current outbreak is labeled H3N8.  Unlike other influenza viruses (like H1N1 in people), the canine influenza virus does not appear to have the ability to infect other species at this time.  There is another distinct canine influenza (H3N2) that has been identified in Asia; there are no reports of H3N2 outside of Asia and no reports of H3N8 outside of the United States.

CI is a particularly difficult disease to contain because it is extremely easy to transmit from dog-to-dog.  The virus is transmitted through the respiratory secretions of infected dogs as well as through contaminated objects.  This virus will remain alive and potentially infectious on hard surfaces for 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.  An infected dog is potentially contagious to other dogs for several days before ever showing symptoms.  Because of this, outbreaks are typically swift and severe, with virtually all non-vaccinated exposed dogs expected to become infected.

Once exposed, most dogs (about 80%) will show symptoms; the other 20% that do not can still transmit the virus.  Most dogs (over 90%) will show only mild symptoms of CI.  Mild cases will typically show a cough that persists 10 – 21 days despite antibiotics and cough suppressants, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, lethargy, and a decrease in appetite.  The cough that is seen can be a dry hacking cough or a more moist productive cough.  A small percentage of infected dogs (less than 10%) will show a severe form of the disease, which includes pneumonia, high grade fever (usually from 104° to 106° F), and rapid breathing.  In approximately 2% of infected dogs, the disease has been fatal.  There is no specific treatment for CI.  Severe cases benefit from hospitalization for supportive care (which could include nutritional support, oxygen therapy, IV antibiotics, among other things); mild cases will frequently convalesce and recover at home with nursing care from the owner.

There is a vaccine available for H3N8 Canine Influenza.  This vaccine may not prevent infection completely, but is has been shown to be very effective at reducing the severity and duration of the illness.  Additionally, the vaccine has shown to reduce the amount of virus that is transmitted from a patient as well as the duration of time that the virus is transmitted.  Dogs that have access to other dogs in a social or working situation (dogs that visit dog parks, dog care care, dogs that are kenneled or boarded, show dogs or dogs that compete in agility or other competitions) are considered at risk and the use of this vaccine should be considered for them.

There are no confirmed cases of Canine Influenza in the Madison area at this time stemming from the outbreak that is occurring in Chicago.  Due to the highly infectious nature of this disease and the fact that many of our local residents visit the Chicago area frequently, we feel that there is a substantial risk that this disease will find its way here.  We are counseling all of our clients about this disease and evaluating risk of exposure and potential benefit of vaccination on a case by case basis.  If you have any questions about Canine Influenza or the steps you can take to protect your dog, please call Sun Prairie Pet Clinic for more information.


American Veterinary Medical Association – Canine Influenza – https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx?PF=1, updated April 2015

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine – Canine Influenza – http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factsheets/pdfs/canine_influenza.pdf, updated June 2014