Nine cases of canine influenza now confirmed in Tippecanoe County dogs

April 24, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A total of nine dogs have tested positive for canine influenza at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. All are local dogs in Tippecanoe County.  None of those dogs are now being treated, and any that required hospitalization were treated in isolation. The tests were conducted because the dogs had clinical signs consistent with canine influenza virus infection.

The results are a reminder of the importance for dog owners to follow appropriate precautions and watch their animals closely for signs of infection, said Kevin Doerr, director of public affairs and communications for the college. As of Thursday (April 23), 60 tests had been conducted at the college. In most cases, the tests were administered as a precaution even though the dogs did not exhibit signs of infection.

Clinical signs of canine influenza are similar to "kennel cough," and the first symptom may be a cough. Canine influenza virus infection may result in no clinical signs at all, or in its milder form, may cause a low-grade fever, coughing and a runny nose. Ill animals may develop a high fever, or less commonly, pneumonia. Mortality is believed to be low, from less than 1 percent to 5 percent.

Because the disease is highly contagious, infected animals should be isolated. The incubation time, from exposure to clinical signs of the illness, is usually approximately two to five days.

There is a vaccine for canine influenza, but it is not effective in animals that already have become infected. Additionally, two strains of canine influenza have been identified, and the vaccine's effectiveness against the newer strain, which was detected during a recent outbreak in Chicago outbreak, is unknown.

The best prevention is to avoid exposure.  The American Veterinary Medical Association says, "Dog owners should be aware that any situation that brings dogs together increases the risk of spread of communicable illnesses. Good infection control practices can reduce that risk, so dog owners involved in shows, sports, or other activities with their dogs or who board their dogs at kennels should ask whether respiratory disease has been a problem there, and whether the facility has a plan for isolating dogs that develop respiratory disease and for notifying owners if their dogs have been exposed to dogs with respiratory disease. As long as good infection control practices are in place, pet owners should not be overly concerned about putting dogs in training facilities, dog parks, kennels, or other areas frequented by dogs."

Good infection control measures include such practices as avoiding direct contact among dogs, cleaning and disinfecting hands before and after handling any dog, and thorough cleaning and disinfection of kennels, and any items that might be shared such as bowls, toys and leashes after use.

More information is available from the American Veterinary Medical Association at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineInfluenza.aspx.

Media contact: Kevin Doerr, director of public affairs and communications, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 765-494-8216

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