The near-epidemic canine flu that has sickened more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area — and resulted in the death of five dogs — is not H3N8, as originally thought.
On Sunday, laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin confirmed the flu strain is actually H3N2.
“The H3N2 was brought here almost for certain by a dog from Asia, or that had visited Asia and came over here while they were infective, which is a very short window,” Dr. David Gonsky, of West Loop Veterinary Care in Chicago, told MyFoxChicago.com.
H3N2 has never before been identified in North America. There have been outbreaks of this canine flu in China and South Korea since 2006.
According to a press release from Cornell University, the symptoms of both H3N8 and H3N2 include high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. The symptoms may be more severe for the H3N2 virus. For both viruses, some infected dogs may not show any symptoms. Most at risk are puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems.
The flu has started spreading beyond Chicago. A dog in Madison, Wisc., was diagnosed with it last week. Cases have also been reported in Indiana and Ohio, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.
Photo credit: Laura