Dog flu spreading throughout the Midwest

Image credit Salem Eames/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image credit Salem Eames/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to reports by CBS/AP, “A canine flu outbreak has sickened many dogs in the Midwest, and veterinarians are cautioning pet owners to keep their dogs from going nose-to-nose with other pets to stop it from spreading further.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine issued a statement Tuesday detailing the outbreak, saying that this strain of Canine influenza virus (CIV) appears to be a new one, and have classified it as H3N2.

“It’s believed that the H3N2 strain was introduced here from Asia, but how it happened is not known,” says Keith Poulsen, WVDL diagnostic and case outreach coordinator and clinical assistant professor at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). “The commercially available vaccines for CIV are made to protect against the H3N8 strain, and their effectiveness against the H3N2 strain is unknown at this time, but it is likely to be less effective.”

At this time there is no evidence that either strain is contagious to pet owners; however, according to the university, while the H3N8 strain is not known to affect cats, H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in felines.

For more information and to find out what you can do to protect your pets, please read the full statement.

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