Canine Flu: Authorities warn Pet Owners to Avoid Areas where Dogs can congregate

Canine Flu: Authorities warn Pet Owners to Avoid Areas where Dogs can congregate

Authorities concerned said that between January and March, five dogs in Chicago died due to canine flu.

On Friday, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control warned that pet owners must avoid dog parks, group dog training facilities, doggy day care businesses and all other places where dogs can be present in groups.

A local survey was also carried out that unveiled more than 1,000 cases of canine infectious respiratory disease have been reported in past few months. Experts said that even if dogs do not show symptoms, they can be contagious.

After witnessing a rise in number of calls with regard to the matter, animal control sent questionnaires to local veterinarians to find out how many dogs could be affected. The survey result found that there is an outbreak and it could take few days before it subsides.

Experts said that dogs that have canine flu have prolonged cough, fever, runny nose and reduced appetite. Dr. Donna Alexander, the county's animal control administrator, said that dogs could lethargic or severely depressed.

It shall be noted that the condition is treatable. But the condition could be chronic among dogs under the age of 1, over the age of 7 and dogs with compromised immune systems. Among dogs, the disease is highly contagious, but it cannot be transmitted to people.

Alexander said that they have been asking people to visit their veterinarian if they should start the canine influenza vaccine. "It's not effective immediately, so owners must try to keep dogs away from doggy social functions. Even dog-friendly areas: You enter at your own risk (because) there is a lot of nose-to-nose contact going on there", said Alexander.

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