April 30, 2015
Many of you have heard about the "Dog Flu" outbreak in Chicago. Obviously many of you are concerned; we are getting several phone calls every day. Well, we are concerned as well. If something like this makes it to Kansas City it may be a disaster.
We've spent the past week trying to get as much information as we can. We've discussed this with other veterinarians, spoken with industry personnel, and participated in webinars with virologists.
The Canine Flu (canine influenza) developed in Florida several years ago. It has spread to several other states. Canine Flu by itself is pretty scary, but there is a vaccine for it. However, what happened recently in Chicago is an entirely different animal. This newest outbreak began in a suburb of Chicago and has spread rapidly through Chicago, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama. Canine Flu is certainly involved, but so are several other pathogens. Some we can vaccinate for, and some we can't. The terrifying aspect of this outbreak is that one of the main culprits is actually the Avian Flu (avian influenza), to which there is no vaccine.
So....what do we do? First, to date, there have been NO confirmed cases in the state of Kansas. That may change tomorrow, but as of this writing, that still holds true.
No one believes that vaccinating for Canine Flu will completely prevent Avian Flu, however, the virologists are hopeful that those dogs vaccinated for Canine Flu would not become as sick when exposed to Avian Flu. This is a hope, not a fact. We hope they are right. Plus, who's to say that if we get an outbreak that it will be Avian Flu? We could get Canine Flu instead.
In the midst of this complicated information, there is some good news. If you have been vaccinated with intranasal Bordetella at Nall Hills, you are ahead of the game. We have always used the best vaccine which actually protects against three of the bad pathogens incriminated in the Chicago outbreak.
Based on all this information we have to date, we recommend three things:
1) If your dog goes to day care, boarding facilities, groomers, or the dog park, get him or her vaccinated for Canine Flu. We are NOT telling you to stay away from these places.
2) Make sure your dog has received an intranasal bordetella vaccine containing not only bordetella, but also adenovirus and parainfluenza.
3) Get ahead of the game. If your dog is due for vaccines and you're going to board him, don't wait. Get him vaccinated 3 weeks before he goes in.
We hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please give us a call.
The doctors at Nall Hills Animal Hospital