By now you may have heard about the Canine Influenza Outbreak in the Chicago area.
The concern is real, because people do travel with their dogs.
1. Canine influenza came over from equine influenza at race tracks shared by horses and greyhounds. It then spread to dogs around those areas. Influenza has been around for a number of years, but luckily it has been relatively contained around the race tracks, and the outbreaks die out quickly.
2. We do have the vaccine which claims to reduce the severity of signs, but does not claim to prevent infection. The only clients getting it are those traveling to areas having trouble with a canine influenza outbreak.
3. The new outbreak in the Chicago area is a different strain of influenza that arrived here from Asia. As far as I know, they still don't know if the current influenza vaccine will protect against the Asian strain.
This report shows it isn't just influenza you have to worry about;
Concerning the Chicago outbreak: Nasal and pharyngeal swabs were sent to Cornell University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to help identify the causative pathogen. Over a period of roughly two weeks, March 16 through March 26, forty-three samples were analyzed from Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Of these, thirty-four dogs tested positive for Canine Influenza.
In addition to those results, there were three cases of Mycoplasma, three cases of canine respiratory Coronavirus, three cases of Pneumovirus, one case of Bordetella, and one case of Parainfluenza.
1. The vaccine is available. It will take 2 doses of vaccine 2 weeks apart, and another week or so to give full protection - so if you feel safer getting it, plan on starting the series 3 weeks before your trip.
2. The best plan is keep your dog(s) away from other dogs as much as possible. Like sending children to school, sending your dog(s) into a large group of dogs just increases the risk of picking up an infection, not just influenza.