More than 1,000 dogs sick, 5 dead in Chicago as dog flu spreads

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – As canine influenza continues to spread across the greater Chicago area, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospitals for pets are encouraging pet owners to make sure their pets are current on their vaccinations.

According to Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control in Illinois, more than 1,000 dogs have become sick and five have died as a result of canine influenza.

“The recent marked increase in canine respiratory disease in Chicago and the surrounding area is very concerning,” said Dr. Mark Ernst, the state veterinarian for Illinois with the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare.

At BluePearl Veterinary Partners three specialty and emergency hospitals in the greater Chicago area, 40 cases have been seen in the last week.

“We highly recommend that pet owners speak with their primary care veterinarians to make sure their pets are current on their vaccines, including the vaccination for canine influenza,” said Dr. Juliet Gladden, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care with BluePearl in Illinois.

In addition to the vaccine, Ernst and Gladden recommend limiting pet interaction.

“Dog owners can help reduce the chances of their dog becoming ill by eliminating exposure to other dogs, curtailing participation in dog friendly activities such as dog parks and daycare, postponing activities that require boarding and practicing good sanitation,” Ernst said.

The disease starts out similar to kennel cough and spreads through interaction with other dogs.

Unlike kennel cough, the symptoms associated with canine influenza or canine infectious respiratory disease(CIRD) are much more severe.

The symptoms of CIRD include coughing, fever, lethargy and a general lack of appetite.

“If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Gladden.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs 2,400 team members including more than 500 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, FL.