Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Prepare Pets for Safe Travel

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Prepare Pets for Safe Travel

Article excerpt

Before making travel plans this summer, do some planning for your pets. Time spent now can prevent some big issues with your pet's health.

Currently, an outbreak of canine influenza in the Chicago area has many pet owners, kennel operators and veterinarians worried that this disease can spread. By mid-April 1,100 dogs in the Chicago area had been reported ill and six dogs had died of the disease. Symptoms include cough, fever and a nasal discharge.

Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin recently identified the strain as H3N2. Originally recognized nine years ago, this canine influenza strain was first found in in Korea and South China. Although humans are not suspected to become infected, cats may be susceptible.

The current strain affecting dogs is different from the H3N8 canine influenza that was first found in 2004. Canine influenza did not make headlines for the past few years and many veterinarians had considered the problem to be a regional nuisance. With the outbreak in Illinois, attention is back on this disease. Vaccinations made for the previously identified strain (H3N8) may not provide protection to the new strain for dogs.

Additional testing and research are required before deciding if continued use of the current vaccine is recommended. Among the factors to consider are potential risks and costs. If traveling to an area affected, use caution to prevent direct exposure to other dogs in parks or other high-contact places. Show or field trial dogs might be at the most risk but dogs that will be kenneled also need to be protected.

Summer is a busy season for kennels and reservations should be made well in advance. In addition, some kennels may now require influenza vaccine. Bordatella, which is a part of the canine cough complex, is universally required for dogs who are boarding. …

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