Word of the dog flu has spread faster in Downstate Illinois than the flu itself. A dog flu that originated at race tracks in Florida has been present in the country for 11 years. A new strain, believed to be from China, has stricken hundreds of dogs, and killed some – but in Illinois, they have all been in the Chicago area, says Dr. Franklin Coble, a veterinarian in Springfield.
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“From what we know, it’s strictly in the Chicago area right now, and the vaccine is not available (Downstate). The supply of vaccine is probably going to Chicago,” he said. There is no vaccine specifically for this new strain, but the old vaccine is supposed to make the sickness shorter and less severe. It’s a respiratory illness, causing dogs to cough and to have a fever, and Coble says it’s about 10 percent fatal. The virus is considered highly communicable, causing boarding facilities, groomers, dog day care centers and dog parks in Chicago and the suburbs to see declines in attendance, as owners try to keep their pets isolated.Coble says the virus could spread as infected dogs are transported from one part of the state to another. The virus also might spread through the air.