As you many have seen or heard, we are currently experiencing a massive and worrisome outbreak of Canine Influenza (CIV). Although Chicago was originally introduced to this virus in 2008, this outbreak is widespread throughout all of the Chicago land area and shows no signs of slowing down.
CIV is a unique virus in two ways: it can affect any age or breed of dog, no matter its health status, and it has a high morbidity rate (the majority of the dogs exposed to the virus become sick). Please note the following important information about CIV: Canine Influenza virus is highly contagious and can live on fabrics for up to 24 hours and on hard surfaces for 48 hours.
Canine Influenza virus is NOT contagious to cats or people. If your dog is coughing, he or she should be seen by one of the veterinarians at Blum Animal Hospital. At that time, viral testing will be performed and one of the veterinarians on staff will determine the best course of action, whether it be outpatient therapy or the need for hospitalization and supportive care in cases of CIV-induced pneumonia. Dogs that develop CIV can have a lingering, hacking cough for up to two weeks.
If your dog is involved in social aspects around Chicago (daycare, grooming, dog park, dog beach, puppy play dates, training and agility classes, communal dog runs in condo buildings) we are recommending having a discussion with your veterinarian about the CIV vaccine.
The vaccine is a series of two: the initial vaccine, which decreases shedding (contagiousness) of the virus, and a booster 2-4 weeks later. Five days after the first vaccine, 40% of dogs are protected from the virus and over 90% are protected after the second booster.