Tags: dog | flu | influenza | chicago | petsmart | epidemic

Dog Flu in Chicago Reaching a Near-Epidemic, Veterinarians Caution

By    |   Monday, 06 Apr 2015 08:30 AM

A dog flu that has already claimed the lives of five canines and spread to more than 1,000 cases in the Chicago area is on the verge of becoming an epidemic, veterinarians say.

The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control on Friday issued a warning to all pet owners that they should stay away from local dog parks, dog training facilities, dog day care businesses, and areas where Chicago-area dogs have gathered in recent months, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"We've had a lot of calls to our office, asking, 'What is going on?'" Dr. Donna Alexander, Cook County's animal control administrator, told the newspaper. "We have veterinarians calling us saying we are seeing this."

Chicago veterinarians are hoping that prevention and communication will help bring under control an outbreak that seems to have the momentum so far, Dr. Joanna Harchut, of the Roscoe Village Animal Hospital, told WLS-TV.

"We've seen upwards of 80 pets with presumed canine influenza and other respiratory diseases in the past two weeks," she said.

PetSmart announced last Thursday that it was shutting down its PetsHotels in Chicago's South Loop, Lincoln Park, and Evanston areas to protect dogs from the illness.

"Because of the highly contagious nature of canine influenza, we have made the decision to proactively close these three PetsHotels out of an abundance of caution," Dr. Robyn Jaynes, director of services quality assurance for PetSmart, said in a statement.

"The key to minimizing the spread of this virus is isolating and treating pets that are showing symptoms, while limiting the exposure of healthy pets to other dogs," the statement continued.

The Evanston and South Loop locations have stopped accepting additional pets until further notice, and all pets have been removed from the Lincoln Park site while it is disinfected.

"We use a chemical called Trifectant in there, and really just clean from top to bottom, and follow very rigorous disinfection processes, and making sure that there's no cross-contamination," PetSmart spokesman Andy Izquierdo told local media outlets.

Common symptoms of the dog flu include a cough, runny nose, and fever.

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A dog flu that has already claimed the lives of five canines and spread to more than 1,000 cases in the Chicago area is on the verge of becoming an epidemic, veterinarians say.
dog, flu, influenza, chicago, petsmart, epidemic
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2015-30-06
Monday, 06 Apr 2015 08:30 AM
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