Mille Lacs/Becker Veterinary Clinic would like to provide you with current information updates on Canine Influenza in the Midwest and the risk to your canine companions here in Minnesota.
Many people are aware that there has been an outbreak of canine influenza affecting more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest (Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana have all reported cases). We have had many people contact our clinics concerned about their dogs being affected by this illness so we are reaching out to our clients to provide current information regarding this illness and the outbreak.
Canine influenza has been present in the United States since 2004 and started with an outbreak at a greyhound facility in Florida. Since then there have been sporadic outbreaks in several other states. The canine influenza identified in 2004 and all subsequent outbreaks have been caused an H3N8 strain of the virus. A vaccination was developed shortly after the initial outbreak in 2004.
It was assumed that the outbreak in Chicago was being caused by the circulating H3N8 strain, but according to laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin the current outbreak is being caused by a different strain of the virus. Researchers at Cornell say results from additional testing indicate that the outbreak is being caused by a virus closely related to Asian strains of influenza H3N2 viruses, currently in wide circulation in southern China and South Korea dog populations. The H3N2 virus had not been previously detected in North America so the outbreak in Chicago likely suggests a recent introduction of the H3N2 virus from Asia. The vaccination currently available is for the H3N8 strain and it seems very unlikely that it would be protective against the H3N2 strain. There is no evidence that the H3N2 strain can be transmitted to humans.
It is important to understand that dogs in Minnesota are currently at EXTREMELY LOW risk of exposure. They are really only at risk if they are exposed to an affected dog or if they are traveling to affected areas. The doctors with the Mille Lacs and Becker Veterinary Clinics are closely watching the current outbreak and will provide our clients with additional information if we feel that there is a general risk to our patients. We have included two links that will provide you with reliable, accurate information about canine influenza and the current outbreak.
~The Doctors and staff at the Mille Lacs Veterinary Clinic, Foley and Milaca and the Becker Veterinary Clinic