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There were reports on the morning shows today about an outbreak of flu in dogs in the midwest, including Chicago. Several dogs have died. The advise is to keep your dogs from having contact with other dogs. Those in affected areas should stay away from dog parks, doggie day care and the like. Stay safe everyone and keep up to date on potential geographic spread.
 

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Thanks, Catherine. Yes, this has been a topic of conversation here in Chicago. First it was believed to only be a kennel cough outbreak, and now there have been a thousand or more cases of canine flu reported with several dogs having experienced severe illness and some deaths. Scary stuff.

When Dulcie started with her cough a few weeks ago, I didn't press the panic button (the news about canine flu had not broken yet, thankfully, or I might have been really frightened), and I took all the precautions you mention here - including not going to dog training class and canceling a trip to visit my daughter in MN in an effort not to spread what I think was a mild case of kennel cough. Luckily, Dulcie never became really ill - only the occasional cough which resolved within a few days.

Since then, though, there has been so much concern about this outbreak that several doggie daycares and dog training facilities which have suspended operations until further notice. Dulce's classes have been canceled by the company for that reason.

This outbreak of canine influenza is being taken seriously here in Illinois.
 

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nifty I knew you would be sensible about all this. It is too bad that it is turning into a big disruption on so many levels, but just like with human flu, interrupting the chain of transmission is the best strategy for limiting the spread. When I was in Syracuse two weekends ago, someone brought a dog (that I think wasn't even entered) that was coughing horribly. They were crated near us and I was pretty horrified and annoyed (being polite here) that someone would bring an obviously sick dog to a show site. Thankfully Lily is fine so far and our next events are outdoor agility trials where I will be able to easily keep Lily away from other dogs.
 

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ARGH! Yes, I totally understand your horror and annoyance that someone brought a sick dog to an event full of other dogs! I am glad that Lily has been fine and your next events are outdoors. Egads!
 

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Some people have no sense. Why on earth would anyone bring a sick dog to a dog show? Just to spread the germs around? No sense at all.

Hope the canine flu outbreak is quickly contained and over...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Having had Lily already end up with a bad case of Bordatella once from an indoor obedience trial, after which Peeves of course ended up sick too, I am very sensitive about trying to keep them safe from infectious agents. I have taken to immunizing Lily for Bordatella as coverage for both of them.
 

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I was really looking forward to going to both a Pet Expo and a Dog Show this weekend, but I don't want to bring the dog flu home to my pup!

Mostly I wanted to tour the vendor sections because I'm looking for a crate mat in an odd size (25" x 36") and was hoping to maybe find one there.

Would I be safe to go to one or the other and bleach my shoes and change my clothes before I come into the house?

Or is it just safer not to go?
 

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Classes, Pet Sitters & Dog Flu

I live in central Illinois near the Univ. of Illinois in Urbana. I decided to hold off on classes for Dakota until August to see how this dog flu thing is doing. It works out better for me to do the classes later logistically. I will train him at home until then.

I use a pet sitting service that I have been very happy with. Fetch just sent me an email about how they are going to handle their pet sitting service to prevent contaminating dogs. I thought you might find what they said interesting. I do believe the Fetch is a very responsible organization.

Since I have a geriatric dog and a puppy under one year of age, this flu concerns me, but apparently we have only had one case in this area.

Hi Fetchers,

We have heard your concern for the canine influenza and how that affects your dog when using Fetch! Pet Care. Rest assured, we are addressing all concerns with our local vet resources to build amendments to our existing bio-security protocol. We hope this email sets your mind at ease as you use our services for your pets and homes during this outbreak period.

There has been a very isolated case here at the University. It has already been attended to. This virus has a less than 10% mortality rate. Those severely affected are immunocompromised pets, such as geriatric, puppies under a year, or those otherwise with immune system suppressions. That being said, with the help of Vet Med and our personal vet, we have updated our existing bio-security protocol to properly address all health concerns, protect our clients, and our own pets.

Our staff will perform the following protocol requirements after each visit:

Team members must wash hands after each visit.
Team member must spray down clothes and shoes with Lysol aerosol spray once leaving the property.

In regards to our playgroups, we are continuing as usual. Transportation is cleaned between each group and all above bio-security protocols are enforced as usual. We hope communication stays open with our clients if you are traveling with your dog to the Chicago or otherwise infected areas so that we may have a discussion with you on whether your dog is suitable for play until his health is clear.

We will stay on the cutting edge of this virus outbreak so that we may always serve you to the best of our ability keeping our safety protocol and the pets' health at the forefront of our care. If our area were to become infected, please know we would revisit all protocols to ensure safety for all pets.

We have attached some information about the virus. Please let us know if you have any concerns. Multiple officials within the Vet Med community have told us that there is nothing to worry about. We've made our changes to bio-security protocols only to set our clients at ease and ensure the continued health of all pets and team members' pets.

We repeat, our area is not infected. Should it become so, these procedures will protect all visited pets and our own for our private dog walks and pet visits. If the situation were to change, we will reassess our protocols and services to ensure the quality of care never waivers from our Fetch! guarantee.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for sharing that. I also have used Fetch for house sitting and do agree that they are a great company whose mission really centers on the well being of their clients fur kids.
 

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I did end up going to the Pet Expo and Dog Show last weekend. It was a lot of fun (even if I did pay for it with a severe migraine episode the next day!).

I met my girlfriend and we went to the shows while my husband stayed home with the pup.

When I got home I changed into a robe in the mudroom and they went directly into the washer. Shoes disinfected. The soft toys and beds I got at the shows went into the dryer to heat treat them. Then I went and took a shower before greeting the pup.

Probably WAY over the top for precautions, but so far we're in the clear so I'm happy.
 

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I live in Evanston, just north of Chicago, and everyone is talking about it, yet I find many of the dog owners are still letting their dogs run and play offleash at the lakefront, etc. Sunny doesn't really engage with other dogs anyway - so that's good. I also heard that the vaccination protocol is 2 shots, 4 weeks apart I believe. And, the vaccine does not even begin to work until 2 weeks after the second shot.....so beware if your vet is pushing the vaccine. Also, the latest I heard was this strain was thought to come from Asia, and the vaccine is for a different strain.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Taking aggressive preventive measures is one of the cornerstones of how we maintain public health in humans. The same principles apply for domestic and agricultural animals. Look at the newly emerging H5N2 bird flu!
 

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I agree that is is sensible to be cautious. I am one of the people who has still been taking my dog out for walks and play in the Chicago area, though I avoided the dog park for several weeks and also played one-on-one fetch with Dulcie at the other park, just to be on the safer side.

I received word from both the dog training teacher and the boarding facility that has me on their email list that both are resuming normal activities next week - however, participants are to sign a new waiver acknowledging that we know about the flu epidemic. The boarding place was shut down for a couple of weeks for a thorough cleaning and disinfection, apparently (I gather they had the flu go through there like wildfire several weeks ago).

SO, maybe the worst of this outbreak is finally behind us here in Chicagoland.
 

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I'm hoping it passes by soon.

My work (grooming shop) has picked up quite a bit the end of last week. I went from having maybe two dogs a day back to having 5 or 6...but I usually have 7. Some days are slower than others, and some owners are more cautious than others. One of the dogs vets said they had not seen any cases come from any grooming shops so thats good...it seems most have been coming from kennels.

I'm going to be kind of hesitant to bring Yuki back to camp even when this flu has passed. But he REALLY needs to get some doggie play time, he is going crazy when we see other dogs in public and he never did before...he is just dying to play and it makes me so sad. I'm still going to wait a couple of weeks.
 

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Michelle I hope it passes quickly and that you can get Yuki back to having his play time. This makes me happy that my dogs socialize well with each other. Even though the dog flu hasn't reached us it is good to know that if it gets here they will not be too loaded with cabin fever.
 

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He gets along with all of our dogs great (atticus, golden, doxie), but they don't play. They play ball but he LOVES to wrestle and play chase, but our golden is 11 now and can't play like she used to...I brought him to work with me since we were slow today and he got to play in a separate room with my boss's lab and they had a blast. He got a little bit of his energy out ;)

I just feel bad when we pass other dogs on walks I'm constantly correcting him for jumping and barking and I don't want him to think its not okay to socialize...since everyones worried about the flu we don't let dogs meet on walks like we usually do so he is like "what the heck! I want to say hi!!!" and has a fit lol.
 

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News: H3N2 influenza: how to protect your dog
April 20, 2015

“So far there are no commercial vaccines available against the H3N2 canine influenza virus, although experimental vaccines have been described. Vaccines against the H3N8 influenza virus – which has existed in this country for more than a decade – are available, but there are differences in the genetic sequences of the two strains that suggest that these vaccines would be poorly effective, or ineffective in protecting dogs against the H3N2 virus infecting dogs in the Midwest.”
 
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