Currently there appears to be an outbreak of a yet undetermined upper respiratory infection going around the Chicago area dog population. Samples of the infection have been sent to local labs and universities by local vets for further investigation as there is no definitive confirmation of what this infection is. This would explain why many dogs in this outbreak have become symptomatic even though they are up to date on all usually required vaccinations.

One possible culprit that some local vets are beginning to focus on is the canine influenza virus. Much like it sounds, this is a flu that is specific to dogs and like bordetella it has many of the same symptoms (Coughing, Sneezing, Fever, Lethargy, Loss of Appetite). To date we have had just a handful of cases of confirmed illness at Pet Care Plus but these animals were either not presenting symptoms while at the facility or were isolated immediately upon presenting and removed from the facility by owners.

Many people have asked us various questions in regards to what they can do so here are a few tips to the most asked questions:

What if I notice they symptoms of this illness?
See a vet ASAP as this seems to be easily treatable and is usually a cycle of antibiotics and non-socialization for about 2 weeks. Preferably find a vet that will come to you or one that will see your dog outside the facility as many vet offices are seeing sick dogs and your dog could catch it while waiting for something else that turns out not to be this illness. If you are considering this option, know that you may be bringing your dog into an unhealthy environment.
What can I do to avoid my dog getting sick?
Avoid dog parks as they are not easily sanitized, if you are in a condo setting ask your building manager to sanitize regularly all dog common areas like elevators, lobby’s and dog runs.
How can I help my dog improve my dogs’ immune health?

  • Make sure your dog is eating a wholesome and nutritious diet
  • Your dog should remain active and get outside when possible
    • Playtime is key as the chemicals produced in an animal brain when they are at play are similar to the ‘feel good’ chemicals we experience when we laugh
  • Maintain an appropriate weight for your dog
  • Have your dog get plenty of rest
    • Adult dogs sleep 12 to 14 hours per day
    • Puppies get even more sleep — 18 hours per day or more

If my dog is sick how long do they need to be away from daycare?
Most doctors are prescribing antibiotics for this illness and we have been told that after starting the prescribed course of antibiotics we request that a 10 day waiting period be completed symptom free before returning to our facility.

Is there a vaccine for the canine influenza virus?
Yes there is. Again, much like a bordetella vaccine and even a human flu vaccine this isn’t a 100% prevention for canine influenza but as they say ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.

Please know that, for now, we at Pet Care Plus seem to be staying ahead of this and we feel our proactive approach, years of experience, dedicated staff and top notch facility will allow us to keep this illness under control. However, we need your help. If you notice your dog displaying any symptoms please keep them at home until they can be seen by a vet as mentioned above.

As a side note for those owners looking to potentially get a canine influenza virus vaccine and would like to error on the side of caution we are planning on having a vaccine clinic here for those dogs that are not currently sick. If you would be interested in this please let us know so that we can be sure to inform you about the date and time of this vaccination clinic.

Jennifer Stavrianos