Update 1.29.2016 Thousands of US dogs have been affected by H3N2 canine influenza because “dogs, like people, move all around the world,” AVMA President Dr. Joseph Kinnarney says. Most dogs have no symptoms or are only mildly affected, but in some cases, dogs need intensive treatment to recover. Infected dogs are contagious for up to three weeks — longer than other influenza viruses — even if they’re not exhibiting symptoms. Dr. Kinnarney recommends the H3N2 vaccine series for at-risk dogs, which includes those regularly exposed to other dogs. More info from National Public Radio

Update 1.25.2016:The AVMA and other experts are educating the public about the H3N2 canine influenza initially discovered in Chicago last year. The virus has spread widely since it surfaced, and some experts suspect over 40 states have been affected. H3N2 mortality has been less than 10%, according to the AVMA, but serious illness can occur. Routine preventive care will position animals to recover from influenza, experts say. “Like most disease, canine influenza will hit hardest on the oldest animals, the youngest, and those that are being challenged by other contagious diseases,” said infectious disease expert Jim Evermann of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. More Info Here!

UPDATE 6.1.2015: Canine influenza has infected dogs in more than a dozen states to date, but owners have no need to panic: Veterinarians say most infected animals have recovered. The disease, caused by a strain known as H3N2, isn’t transmissible to humans. The AVMA says infected dogs may develop a mild case, including coughing, lethargy and possibly nasal discharge, or they may develop a more serious infection involving high fever and pneumonia. It’s also possible an infected dog will not show any signs.

The Chicago area is experiencing an outbreak of Canine Influenza.  We first remember reading about this about ten years ago (The original  H3N8 virus) but it has continued to spread throughout the area.  It is caused by a different strain (H3N2) than earlier assumed and has afflicted more than 1000 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest.  The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine reports canine influenza has surfaced in Madison, WI with one confirmed case as of April 2015.  The UW Veterinary experts warn that anyone traveling to Chicago with a dog should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.

Veterinarians recommend a two-series canine influenza vaccine that begins protecting dogs after two weeks.  There are some veterinarians in the St Louis Bi State region that are already vaccinating dogs for this disease. Be aware that the current vaccine is for the H3N8 strain (the older one) and NOT the current strain, H3N2, that is the newer mutated strain.  Make sure you have a very clear discussion with your Veterinarian about vaccinating for the original strain that will perhaps only offer mild protection against the newer mutated strain.

The virus hasn’t been shown to infect people.  The H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats. Both influenza strains can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy.  Symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus. Some infected dogs may not show symptoms at all.

We would recommend you speak to your own veterinarian about vaccinating your pets.

Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin have been the lead researchers regarding this canine influenza outbreak.

Here’s the statement from Cornell University.

More information from the CDC:

From the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Canine Influenza FAQ

Smithsonian Magazine

LA Times 5.29.2015