Canine Influenza Outbreak in Some Midwest States

Monday, April 13, 2015

Suspected canine influenza recently has been reported in the Chicago area.

Details are limited but there is a suggestion of widespread distribution of illnesses in dogs, especially dogs visiting dog parks or other places where multiple dogs interact. This outbreak has prompted increased concern by dog owners and veterinarians in Minnesota.  To date, no cases of canine influenza have been reported in Minnesota. 

Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection transmitted through the air between animals in close contact. Owners should consult with their veterinarian if their dog displays cough, runny nose and fever.  Canine influenza pneumonia can lead to death in severe cases.

Current evidence suggests that these illnesses are caused by a new canine influenza strain previously identified in Asia.  A canine influenza vaccine is available but it is unclear if this vaccine would protect against this new circulating strain. Dogs visiting dog parks, housed in kennels, attending dog shows, training classes, or other communal activities should consider vaccination.  Please consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog should be vaccinated. 

Testing for this virus is available through the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. 

If your dog is ill please consult your veterinarian and refrain from visiting areas where other dogs may frequent such as dog parks.  

Additional information is available on the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) website for interested veterinarians and clients. Diagnostic and testing information is available through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.