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Here's the latest information regarding the influenza outbreak in Chicago and the Midwest! Please note:
1. This is a different strain, H3N2, than the strain currently immunized against by veterinarians (H3N8).
2. It is not known if the current vaccine will provide any protection from this new virus. It does protect against H3N8, which is in circulation in some areas.
3. In areas where the viruses are active, avoid places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks and grooming salons There is NO known cross protection provided by the vaccine
4. Both Influenza strains can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. Symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus. Some infected dogs may not show symptoms at all.
5. H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats.
May 11, 2015:
HCPHES-VPH (Harris County) was notified on 05/08/2015 of a dog that tested positive for Canine Influenza H3N2 in Beach City, Texas. The owners had moved from Chicago and thought the dog was presenting with complications related to dental work, completed in Chicago on 4/28/2015. The dog presented to an emergency clinic on 5/2/2015 with clinical signs of coughing, gagging and inappetance. On physical exam the animal was febrile (104.5 °F) and showed respiratory signs. The dog then presented to a local veterinary clinic on 5/5/2015 for inappetance and unimproved condition. Physical exam revealed the animal had increased wheezing on inspiration, had lost weight and was depressed. The clinic submitted an IDEXX respiratory comprehensive panel, this came back as positive for Canine Influenza H3N2 on 05/08/2015. This is the first case of H3N2 which was reported to HCPHES-VPH, the dog originated from Chicago.
Since there is no vaccine for this strain, please consider this when taking your pets to local parks, boarding facilities, and groomers. It is not in Houston but could be soon if proper preventative measures are not taken. As a pet owner, there is no need for panic but you should take all necessary precautions. We certainly do not want another epidemic here!
We will keep our pet community apprised of any changes as soon as we know of them.
Champions Forest Animal Clinic
April 12, 2015: