February 06,2017

The Anti-Cruelty Society Closes for Dog Adoptions Amid Canine Influenza Outbreak

Dog adoptions have come to a halt at The Anti-Cruelty Society amid another outbreak of canine influenza. Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), commonly known as the dog flu, first appeared in the Chicago area in the spring of 2015. Since then, it has been considered an endemic disease in the area, and has once again forced The Anti-Cruelty Society to close for dog adoptions for the next 3-4 weeks. The Society remains open for cat adoptions at this time.

CIV is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs and does not affect humans. Signs of this illness in dogs are a honking cough, runny nose, and fever. This is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs so nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection. Most infected dogs will become ill to varying degrees, a few dogs will have asymptomatic infections (no signs) and some dogs will experience sever illness characterized by pneumonia and will require hospitalization. A small percentage of these cases will die.

Canine influenza can be spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. With the increase in temperatures, dog-to-dog contact also increases with visits to dog parks, doggy day care facilities, grooming facilities, and interaction in dog-friendly apartment buildings. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose their dog to other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.

Approved vaccines are available to prevent infection and help reduce the severity of symptoms after infection. Two vaccines must be given 2-4 weeks apart and the dog is not protected until 2 weeks after the second vaccination. We highly recommend dog owners visit their private veterinarian to discuss whether the vaccination is appropriate for their dog.