Tips on the Deadly Canine Flu Sweeping the Midwest

People who have touched sick dogs can spread the virus to other dogs. Symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

4.15.15 - Deadly Canine Flu Is Sweeping the Midwest



A handful of dogs have died and over 1,000 have been sickened with canine influenza across the Midwest.  Help prevent your favorite snuggle buddies from contracting the virus with this information.

Dog flu is nothing new, but scientists are saying this year’s strain is particularly malicious.  Symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite.  Some dogs can develop more serious symptoms and even succumb to the illness, but about 80 percent of dogs infected will only have a mild form.

“This is a disease that will be very manageable and very preventable,” said Paul Schifano, veterinarian and owner of Petropolis in Chesterfield, Missouri. “The whole approach is to avoid something that has happened in Chicago.”

The strain is highly contagious and can be spread by coming into direct contact with respiratory emissions.  People who have touched sick dogs can spread the virus to other dogs.  Healthy dogs may become infected by coming into contact with contaminated food/water dishes, toys, beds, etc.  All of these things should be thoroughly washed, and a person should make sure to wash hands and change clothes before touching a healthy dog or their things if they believe they have been in contact with a sick dog.

Veterinarians can test dogs for the flu and can administer a vaccine to help prevent them from catching it.  In severe cases, lack of treatment can lead to pneumonia and death.  However, vets aren’t positive that the vaccine, designed to fight the H3N2 strain, will work on the H3N8 strain.

“We don’t know if the vaccine we are using is going to be protective or if it’s not going to work at all,” said David Roberts, a veterinarian at Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.

If your dog shows symptoms of flu, contact your veterinarian and make sure your dog gets plenty of fluids and rest in a comfortable place.  Humans and cats are not known to contract the virus, but a sick dog must be kept away from other dogs to prevent transmission.

“It’s really no different if you’re talking about dogs or toddlers, if you think they’re sick, don’t bring them to daycare,” said Keith Poulsen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine.


51 thoughts on “Tips on the Deadly Canine Flu Sweeping the Midwest

  1. I don’t know who wrote this article, but it has indeed been found to cause respiratory illness in cats. This is according to Cornell. Dogs shed the virus for a couple of days before they become symptomatic and can infect other animals.

    1. I don’t know who wrote this comment, but H3N2 has been shown to affect cats, not H3N8, as this article is discussing – according to Cornell.

  2. My dog has been sick for over a month. Antibiotics dont seem to help much. I have 2 other dogs in house that have not gotten sick. Back to the vet this weekend.

  3. One of mine is sick. Really didn’t have any exposure and had no cough so I was pretty sure it wasn’t the flu. Find out it’s pancreatitis. Now I can’t figure out if that’s worse.

  4. keep them warm, fed well, protect their respiratory system, give them antibiotics if need be they will be fine. But once you neglect them and ignore how they feel, they can and will die

  5. It is in Chicago. Do not take your dogs to dog parks, keep them away from other dogs and if you pet another dog, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your dog.

  6. Dianna Knost came to US via race dogs – never was contained because carriers may be asymptomatic. It’s horrible.

  7. It concerns me because poppy has issues being brachycephalycic . Then the fact that we welcome dogs in the gallery. Yes I’m that dog mom

  8. Poppy needs vaccine – simple as that. Anyone that goes to dog parks without vaccine is putting dogs at risk. A carrier could be at the park. I have quit the awesome dog parks here. Glad I have a big yard – for my 4pack to chase balls and frisbees. Love you Dianna Knost

  9. I am to fly with my young pup changing planes in Chicago. Should pup be vaccinated ? Very concerned.

  10. protect you dogs pls,be careful touching other dogs, make sure if you did, wash wash wash your hands !!!

  11. I recently got a chocolate lab for my oldest daughter. We named him Waldo, and we’ll be sure to take him to the vet as soon as possible. What are the symptoms of dog flu? It’s important to be well informed, so we can watch out for it.

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