The current run of canine influenza cases spreading across the country started in Georgia and quickly expanded to Florida with a crew of dog show participants.
Rapidly, it dispersed to nine more states.
In Louisville, KY, where our children and grandchildren live, the situation has gotten so bad that one clinic, Blue Pearl Louisville Specialty and Emergency Medicine for Pets has established a special, outdoor examination and treatment facility for suspected cases. If your pet has a respiratory tract condition that might be dog flu, you are directed to that area instead of potentially infecting the entire hospital and its occupants.
Blue Pearl’s Dr. Scott Rizzo emphasizes what we’ve been saying all along: it’s not necessary that your dog come in contact with another dog to be put at risk. He uses the example of a shared fire hydrant. An infected dog visits it, then, if your dog uses it 48 hours later, the flu bug could still be infective and your unvaccinated dog could become ill.
I recently read a case study of a Louisville patient with a fever of 104.4. That’s a sick dog.
Jeanna Beck, hospital director at MedVet Toledo, says that they have seen as many as five cases per day.
Vaccines are available for both H3N8, the original strain of canine influenza, and H3N2, the newer strain that is currently causing the most problems in the greatest number of locations around the country.