The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Canine Influenza Has Reached Lafayette, Indiana: What Dog Owners Need to Know

Friday, April 17, 2015

Canine Influenza Has Reached Lafayette, Indiana: What Dog Owners Need to Know

Canine influenza has reached Lafayette, according to the Purdue University's Pet Wellness Clinic.

Clinic director Steve Thompson said Friday that several tests on Lafayette dogs came up positive for the virus Thursday evening.

It's unclear how many dogs have been diagnosed with the virus locally. Thompson said Purdue will be releasing more information later today.

Indiana State Board of Animal Health spokeswoman Denise Derrer said the board has heard of about a dozen cases of the virus in Indiana dogs.

The board last week had asked veterinarians to informally notify the board of any cases they diagnose.

"But that's not an official count by any means," Derrer said, noting that the virus isn't considered "reportable," meaning that veterinarians aren't required to report canine influenza cases to the state.

The virus has swept Chicago in recent weeks, sickening more than 1,000 dogs and killed five dogs between January and March.

Experts originally thought it to be the H3N8 dog flu virus already found in the United States. They now believe it is a new strain, H3N2, that likely originated in Asia and hasn't been seen before in the U.S.

Though a vaccine is available for the H3N8 virus, it's unclear yet whether it will ward off the H3N2 virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus is rarely fatal, but young and old canines can be especially at risk.

About canine influenza

What is it?

Canine influenza is a very contagious respiratory infection in dogs.

How is it transmitted?

The virus can be transmitted from dog to dog via the air (coughing or close proximity), by contaminated objects such as food bowls or toys, or by humans moving between infected and healthy dogs.

What are the symptoms?

The signs of this illness in dogs are coughing, runny nose and fever. A small portion of infected dogs can develop severe disease.

What to do if dog shows symptoms?

Though there is a vaccine for the older H3N8 virus, but it is unknown whether that vaccine will protect against the new H3N2 virus currently sweeping the Midwest. Veterinarians still recommend receiving the H3N8 vaccine. Contact your vet for details. Treatment largely consists of supportive care including fluids and making the dog comfortable.

Is it fatal?

The percent of dogs with the disease that die is very small. Eighty percent of infected dogs will have a mild form of the virus.

Sources: Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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