Deadly dog flu makes it way to Indiana

Dog flu reaching epidemic levels in Chicagoland area and has come entered Indiana. (WLFI Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Five cases of canine influenza have been confirmed in Tippecanoe County. In Illinois, health officials say at least five dogs have died as a result of the flu.

Local animal health experts encourage pet owners to vaccinate their dogs. At Broad Ripple Animal Clinic, they’ve just ordered their first batch of influenza vaccines. The vaccines are expected to arrive within a week.

“Our vaccine will help decrease the duration. It will help decrease clinical signs. It’s not going to prevent it 100 percent, so avoidance is really the best way,” said Dr. Jean Cruse of Broad Ripple Animal Clinic.

Dr. Cruse said the original strain; H3N8 was passed from horses to dogs, and then spread through travelers, “This is potentially a new strain originating from Asia. It’s H3N2, there’s obviously similarities between the two.”

According to Dr. Cruse, the flu can be passed from humans to dogs, but not from dogs to humans. The symptoms are also comparable to what humans experience. Here’s what to look for:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fever

Dr. Cruse added, elderly dogs and puppies that have not yet been vaccinated are more likely to experience more severe symptoms than otherwise healthy dogs would experience.

“Most of these cases, while highly infectious, are not fatal. That’s where a lot of people are getting scared,” said Dr. Cruse.

Dr. Cruse said there is no way of entirely preventing the flu, but suggested washing hands and clothing, if you come in contact with a sick dog to prevent spreading it to your own pooch. If your dog experiences any of the symptoms listed above, get them to the vet ASAP. Also, if your dog is ill, avoid community dog areas like dog parks or doggie daycare. She also wants to remind pet owners that it’s important for your four-legged friends to have companionship.

“Dogs are going to be dogs. They need to interact. They need to go outside. So we don’t want them to be secluded inside all the time,” said Dr. Cruse.

In order for your dog to be fully vaccinated at the Broad Ripple Animal Clinic, it will require two shots. A vaccination will cost around $20.

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