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One year ago in Chicago, there was an outbreak of canine influenza, a highly contagious disease spread between dogs. In an effort to help protect your furry friend, the staff at Glen Park Animal Hospital wants you to know more about the dog flu--and how to keep this dog virus out of your home.
Canine flu is caused by a virus known as the H3N2 virus. The virus is believed to have originated in Asia, likely as a species cross-over from birds (avian flu) to dogs with respiratory illnesses. While contained mostly to China, Korea, and Thailand for years, Chicago experienced an unexpected outbreak of canine flu in March 2015. Outbreaks are possible because the disease is extremely contagious--as many as 80-100% of unvaccinated dogs exposed to the virus will get it themselves.
Signs and symptoms of the canine flu do not always appear right away following exposure. This can make outbreak prevention difficult, since dogs with the canine flu can shed the virus and pass it on to other dogs even when they are not showing any symptoms. Once signs and symptoms do develop, a sick dog may develop:
If left untreated, the canine flu can be very dangerous and harmful to dogs. In severe cases, the H3N2 virus can lead to pneumonia and respiratory distress.
Preventing this disease is easier than treating this disease! Unfortunately, dogs of all breeds do not have natural immunity against the H3N2 virus, which is why it's absolutely critical that all dogs are vaccinated. Your veterinarian can discuss with you in detail the important process of vaccinating your dog against the H3N2 virus. Typically, an initial vaccination dose is provided, followed by a booster shot 3 weeks later. It's important to note that before this booster shot, your dog does not yet have immunity from the virus, so should be kept away from other dogs until at least one week following the booster.
If a dog does become sick with the H3N2 virus, recovery within a few weeks is possible with the correct treatment, which may include:
Additionally, proper nutrition and adequate physical activity are also important factors in a dog's ability to recover from such an illness.
At Glen Park Animal Hospital, we provide both dog flu prevention and dog flu treatment as part of our comprehensive plan to keep all dogs as safe and as healthy as possible. If your dog needs to be vaccinated against the H3N2 virus, the contact us right away at 219-980-4944 to schedule your appointment. We proudly serve dogs and their owners from the Gary, Hobart, and Merrillville IN communities.
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I have been bringing all of my dogs to Glen Park Animal Hospital for the past 20 years and have found their service to be excellent! I am a nurse and have found that the care, competency and compassion that the entire staff gives to the animals is as good as (and in some instances even better than) the "human doctors/hospitals"!! Dr. Larson explains everything and does good follow-up with my "fur-babies". You can tell that the entire staff loves their job!
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