DOG FLU LINKED TO 5 PET DEATHS IN COOK COUNTY
By Diane Pathieu
Monday, April 06, 2015 10:31PM
CHICAGO (WLS) — There are over 1,000 cases of canine influenza in Cook County and the virus is spreading fast. Dog flu has already been linked to at least five pet deaths in Cook County.
Experts say, now more than ever, vaccinations are a matter of life and death for your dog.
Dog flu has spread to Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and three Chicago area PetSmart stores have closed their pet hotels to prevent the spread of the virus.
Dr. Donna Alexander with Cook County Animal Control says, just like humans, the key to not spreading the virus is washing your hands and keeping areas clean. She said it is a misconception that humans can transmit the flu to dogs or vice versa, but that does not mean that humans cannot spread germs.
“The way humans act as a vector is if we get any of the dog’s sputum, the nasal discharge, the cough, the aerosolized types of particles on our hands when we’re touching them – from their leash, their clothing, from their bedding – and then we go to another dog and pet that dog without washing our hands,” Dr. Alexander said.
Alexander says the best advice for dog owners is to get that vaccine. However, it can take 28 to 32 days for that vaccine to take effect, so Dr. Alexander says to keep your dog away from social settings during that period.