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Warning - New Dog Flu Virus! September 28, 2005 12:32 PM

Dogs Getting The Flu In South Florida 

POSTED: 5:32 pm EDT September 21, 2005

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A strain of the flu is spreading across Florida -- but this form of influenza attacks dogs, not people.

Florida agriculture officials say they are seeing a jump in the number of cases of canine influenza being reported at shelters, boarding facilities and clinics.

The cases are being reported across the state, especially in South Florida.

The respiratory disease causes symptoms similar to kennel cough but is more serious. Officials say canine influenza usually requires the attention of a veterinarian.

The virus is highly contagious. The state is concerned that the spread of the virus could increase as Hurricane Katrina evacuees temporarily relocate to Florida with their pets.

Some develop more acute symptoms and among those dogs the mortality rate is between one and five percent.

Canine flu is a newly emerging disease that was identified recently in racing greyhounds by University of Florida researchers.

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Flu Virus Hitting First Coast Dogs September 28, 2005 12:33 PM

The Florida Times-Union

September 28, 2005

Contagious New Flu Virus Hitting First Coast Dogs

The Times-Union

Jacksonville, FL: An outbreak of a new and highly contagious flu virus in dogs has spread throughout Florida with reported incidents on the First Coast, according to state animal health officials.

Researchers for the University of Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus has been reported in animal shelters, humane societies, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics predominantly in Duval, Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties.

No specific numbers are yet available statewide or locally, animal health officials said.

Virtually every exposed dog will come down with the virus, health officials said.

Health officials say people should use caution when visiting dog parks or boarding their dogs in kennels.

The major symptoms mimic kennel cough, for which there is a preventive vaccination. But there is no antidote yet available for the new flu. Those symptoms include a cough that can last up to three weeks, discharge from the eyes and nose and a low-grade fever, animal health officials said.

The most severe cases can lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal for up to 5 percent of affected dogs.

UF researchers discovered the virus in 2004 during research on a canine respiratory disease. They concluded that the virus was closely related to a flu virus commonly found in horses that had somehow been transferred to dogs. Health officials say there is no danger to humans.

The virus began in Florida and now has spread to the New York City area and to Massachusetts, said Ed Dubovi from Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostics Center.

Jacksonville area veterinarians are seeing only mild cases so far.

"Antibiotics have worked to treat most of the dogs," said Richard Oglesby, a veterinarian at Greenbriar Animal Hospital in St. Johns County. As many as seven flu-infected dogs a week came through his practice in August. Another infected dog was brought there for treatment Monday he said.

Jacksonville Greyhound Racing Inc., which conducts races at tracks in Clay and Duval counties, reported no outbreaks among its 800 dogs, said Tim Leuschner, assistant general manager., (904) 359-4504

This story can be found on at

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Jumped From Horses To Dogs September 28, 2005 1:10 PM

New Flu Jumped From Horses To Dogs
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2005

The mysterious respiratory disease that has swept greyhound racetracks across the country and also afflicted pet dogs is a type of flu - an influenza strain that jumped from horses to dogs, researchers reported Monday.

Such a rapid jump into a new species is rare; the flu usually evolves into new strains more gradually.

But genetic tests of sick dogs found their disease almost identical to the H3N8 influenza strain that afflicts horses, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of Florida discovered.

Moreover, they found evidence of widespread infection in race dogs around the country and in pets of various breeds in Florida and New York.

Since this is a new virus for dogs, they are unlikely to harbor a natural immunity to it.

There are no reports of people sickened by the new canine flu, which is genetically different from human flu strains - and from the bird flu that has killed more than 60 people in Asia.

The results were published online Monday by the journal Science.

This new dog illness made headlines earlier this year as greyhound racetracks closed to control outbreaks. Veterinarians struggled to tell if the illness was a new variant of kennel cough or an entirely new disease.

The CDC researchers counted outbreaks at 14 greyhound tracks in six states from June to August 2004, and at 20 tracks in 11 states between January and May 2005.

It's not clear how dangerous the new canine flu is to dogs. Some die, others experience only a fever and cough, but a large number show no symptoms at all, the researchers report.

While most attention has focused on racing dogs, the researchers tested 70 dogs of various breeds with respiratory disease in Florida and New York pet shelters and veterinary clinics. Some 97 percent showed antibodies to the new canine flu strain.

Tests of blood stored by racetracks suggests the new flu strain began infecting dogs sometime between 1999 and 2003, well before the first outbreaks were recognized, the researchers conclude.

©MMV The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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New Dog Flu Virus - Resources September 28, 2005 1:30 PM
    Dog Lovers Group Thread:
     [ send green star]
    Report: Mysterious Disease Is Flu Strain September 28, 2005 1:45 PM

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

    Mon Sep 26, 7:52 PM ET

    A puzzling outbreak of respiratory disease in dogs has been tracked to a virus that has infected horses for decades — a transfer researchers say is rarely seen.

    The illness first drew attention sweeping through kennels of racing greyhounds in several states and has also been found in household dogs in some states.

    The flu kills between 5 percent and 8 percent of infected dogs, Dr. Cynda Crawford of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine said at a briefing Monday. Some dogs get a cough, runny nose and fever while others show no symptoms at all.

    The flu can cause symptoms similar to the common illness known as kennel cough, Crawford said. But kennel cough is usually caused by a bacteria while the new illness is caused by a virus.

    Dr. Brad Fenwick, vice president for research at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, said he thinks mortality from this flu is even less than estimated by Crawford. If infected dogs are treated, mortality can be much lower, Fenwick said in a telephone interview.

    While the new virus is easily transferred between dogs, Crawford said people should not panic.

    Owners of dogs that have a respiratory infection should keep the animal home for at least two weeks, she said.

    Asked if dog owners should avoid kennels or other activities, Crawford said she plans to continue boarding her dogs when needed, walking them in areas with other dogs and entering them at dog shows.

    Fenwick agreed, adding that people should not use vaccines intended for horses on their dogs because the safety of the vaccines hasn't been tested in canines.

    As for transmission to people, Crawford noted that the strain of flu has been known in horses for more than 40 years and there have been no documented cases of it moving to people.

    Nonetheless, Dr. Nina Marano of the Centers for Disease Control said the agency will monitor human exposure to the virus.

    Dr. Ruben Donis of the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta called the transfer of a virus from horses to dogs "a very rare event of considerable scientific interest with regards to understanding influenza virus transmission across species."

    Donis said the researchers have identified between eight and 10 genetic changes between the virus in horses and dogs, and they speculate that these changes affect the ability of the virus to attach to receptors on cells.

    The findings of the research team led by Donis were published online by the journal Science.

    He said the research began in Florida and has since traced the virus to dog tracks in other states and to pets in Florida and New York and possibly Massachusetts.

    Fenwick, who was not part of the research team, said it is not clear whether the transfer occurred first from horses to the racing greyhounds or to house pets.

    There are a lot more pet dogs around horses than racing dogs, he noted. The fact that it was first diagnosed in greyhounds could be because it spread to several animals in kennels where veterinarians were called in to treat the dogs. Since mortality is so low it may have gone largely unnoticed in pets, he suggested.

    The published paper reported respiratory disease outbreaks in from June to August 2004 at dog tracks in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia and Kansas. From January to May 2005 outbreaks were reported at dog tracks in Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

    The research was funded by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering of the State of Florida.


    On the Net:


    Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    Dog Virus Alert October 10, 2005 7:07 PM

    WJXX, FL - Sep 28, 2005

    By Mark Spain
    First Coast News

    JACKSONVILLE, FL -- A new, highly contagious virus is spreading throughout the U.S., with a high concentration reported in Florida.

    Canine influenza has been identified in shelters, boarding facilities, humane societies and clinics. The same virus has apparently been involved in several outbreaks of severe respiratory disease in racing greyhounds in Florida.

    "It's a lot like the flu," said Dr. Kelly Rada the veterinarian at the Duval County Humane Society. Symptoms include very high fever, cough, vomiting, lethargy and not wanting to eat.

    The disease has been fatal in some dogs. There also is no vaccine, although scientists are working on one. Virtually 100 percent of exposed dogs become infected. And nearly 80 percent of those exposed contract only a mild form of the disease.

    Because the virus is highly contagious and all dogs are susceptible to infection, veterinarians, boarding facilities, shelters and pet stores are urged to use isolation protocols for dogs that have a "kennel cough."

    Disinfectants help fight the disease and isolating dogs that have the virus from ones that do not.

    Created: 9/28/2005 5:13:44 PM
    Updated: 9/28/2005 7:00:29 PM

    Edited by  Mark Spain, Anchor

    © 2004-2005 First Coast News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.

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    Alerts go out on dog influenza October 10, 2005 7:23 PM

    Pet owners should keep close watch while more is learned, experts say.

    Sandra Pedicini
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    September 30, 2005

    One Central Florida county is on "heightened alert" and another is keeping new pet owners informed as veterinarians scramble to learn more about a new, sometimes deadly canine influenza.

    The strain, which originated from a horse flu, has stricken racing greyhounds and is showing up in some pet dogs. There is no known vaccination for the illness, which has been reported in several states, including Florida.

    Earlier this week, Orange County Animal Services was monitoring 11 dogs at the county shelter with symptoms of upper-respiratory infection. The affected dogs were euthanized, though not because of their illnesses, Orange County animal-services spokeswoman Vanessa Bouffard said.

    "Their time was up here," she said. Animals at the shelter are put down after a minimum of five days if it appears no one wants to adopt them.

    Nothing indicated the sick dogs actually had the new virus, but Bouffard said the department is on "heightened alert." That means medical personnel are to be notified immediately if an animal at the shelter shows any signs of the virus.

    A shelter veterinarian had been researching the illness to learn more, and shelter staff members were briefed earlier this week about the virus.

    Seminole County Animal Services has started handing out information on canine influenza to people adopting dogs from its shelter.

    "Pretty much . . . we're trying to get them educated. They need to watch their dogs," Animal Services manager Mike Wittmer said.

    Officials from Lake, Osceola and Volusia counties said they have not taken any specific actions.

    Respiratory illness can be common in dogs, particularly those in shelters. But the new strain of canine influenza has sometimes resulted in fatal complications, though most dogs have recovered.

    Researchers said the virus first surfaced last year and killed several dogs at Sanford Orlando Kennel Club in Longwood. Some pet dogs that have contracted the virus also have died, according to officials at the University of Florida, where a veterinary immunologist is studying the outbreak.

    The journal Science released a report on the influenza earlier this week.

    UF officials said they have received results of blood tests from pet dogs that are suspected of having the virus. They said Thursday that they are not ready to release detailed information on those results.

    The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the virus has shown up in shelters, boarding facilities and clinics in South Florida.

    One Central Florida veterinarian said he has seen three dogs in the past two weeks that could be suffering from the virus. They had respiratory infections with symptoms that became more severe than normal and needed additional, stronger doses of antibiotics.

    One is recovering, but veterinarian Bruce Bogoslavsky said the owner of another dog called Thursday worried that her pet hadn't responded to the new medication.

    Bogoslavsky, of the Animal Veterinary Hospital of Orlando, said two of the dogs had been recently adopted from the nearby SPCA shelter.

    One belongs to Judy Burt, who adopted a beagle named Scooby in mid-September. Scooby started showing signs of recovery once he started on a stronger antibiotic. Still, Burt said she plans to be careful.

    "Probably with him just getting over this, I'm going to more or less keep him in his own yard for a while and not venture out around other dogs," she said.

    SPCA of Central Florida spokesman Jake White said the agency has seen no unusual symptoms in dogs housed in its shelters. Several dogs have what appears to be common kennel cough and are being kept in isolation, which is standard procedure, White said.

    Jim Losinger of Apopka said he has received e-mails about the virus from some dog owners' groups. On Thursday, Losinger brought his greyhound Blade to Fleet Peeples Park in Winter Park, where a few dogs frolicked with one another and swam in the water.

    "I'm worried about him," Losinger said. "I'm watching him around other dogs. If I see any dogs wheezing or coughing, we're just going to walk off. . . . He's 10 years old. I'd rather he didn't have to go through anything like that."

    Still, Losinger said he wouldn't keep his dog away from the park.

    "This is his reward for being a good boy," he said.

    "I haven't heard much about it," said Brent Roberts of Orlando, whose 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Gabi swam in the lake. "It's not a concern until I see her being a little less active."

    Dr. Cynda Crawford, a UF veterinary immunologist studying the disease, has said there is no reason for pet owners to panic and that they can continue bringing their dogs to places where canines congregate.

    But Bogoslavsky said it's always a good idea for people to keep their dogs from getting too close to unfamiliar ones.

    "People need to take into consideration every dog their dog may come in contact with isn't always going to be healthy," he said.

    Sandra Pedicini can be reached at or 407-322-7669.

    Copyright © 2005, Orlando Sentinel,0,2555837.story?coll=orl-news-headlines

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    Vet says flu cases were exaggerated... October 14, 2005 9:34 AM

    Vets find that dog flu cases were exaggerated!!



    10.13.2005 04:56 pm

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    Dog Flu Cases Exaggerated, Vets Find October 14, 2005 11:06 AM

    Posted 10/10/2005 5:21 PM
    The dangers of a newly discovered influenza in dogs that is a mutation of an equine flu are being blown out of proportion by pet owners, fueled partly by rumors spread online, veterinarians and researchers say. "It's all over the Internet. The rumors are rampant," says Gail Golab of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, Illinois.
    Veterinarian Kristi Gannon checks 6-month-old pug
    Beatrice at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J.
    By James W. Anness, AP

    The disease was identified in racing greyhounds in 2004 and spread to other canine populations. It moved into the national spotlight when a Sept. 29 paper in the journal Science identified it as a mutation of a form of the disease found in horses.

    Influenza has been found in species such as horses, pigs, cats and birds for years, but this is the first canine flu. There are no reports of either dog or horse influenza ever being transmitted to humans.

    Because the disease is new in dogs, they have not had time to build up immunity, so almost all dogs exposed become infected although 80% actually show symptoms, Golab says.

    But even with a high infection rate, mortality is low, Cynda Crawford, the veterinary immunologist from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville who first identified the virus, said at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention briefing. "Despite the rumors that are out on the Internet and other such sources, this disease is not as deadly as people want to make it."

    It is unknown how many dogs have the disease. While the majority of reported cases have been in upstate New York and southern Florida, it also has been reported in New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Minnesota and Ohio, Golab says.

    The disease mimics a common canine ailment called "kennel cough." The first signs are a moist cough that can turn into a dry cough, sometimes accompanied by nasal discharge and a low fever.

    It appears that 5% to 8% infected dogs die. But because few necrologies, the animal form of an autopsy, were performed, it's impossible to know definitely if they died of the flu, says Ed Dubovi, director of the virology laboratory at the college of veterinary medicine at Cornell University.

    Older dogs with respiratory problems that contract flu are at the highest risk for developing secondary infections, Dubovi says. A canine flu vaccine is in the earliest stages of research.

    Common sense precautions will help slowing the spread of the virus, Dubovi says. "If you've got a dog that's coughing, don't take it to the groomer or the kennel."

    Find this article at:


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    Summary Box: Dog Flu Worries Pet Owners October 14, 2005 6:28 PM

    Posted on Fri, Oct. 14, 2005
    Associated Press

    SICK PUPPIES: Canine influenza virus, also known as dog flu, is spreading steadily among the nation's dogs.
    HOW IT STARTED: The virus jumped from horses to dogs, striking greyhounds at racetracks in 11 states. It then started showing up in pets around the country.
    TREATMENT: There is no vaccine available. Perhaps 5 percent of victims are dying. Symptoms include cough, low-grade fever and a runny nose.

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    CT Confirms First Two Cases of Dog Flu October 20, 2005 2:05 PM

    October 20, 2005, 7:48 AM EDT

    HARTFORD, Conn. -- The state veterinarian has confirmed the first two cases of canine flu in Connecticut.

    The potentially fatal influenza can cause dangerous respiratory infections in dogs, though there is no evidence that people or other types of pets can catch it.

    The disease, an equine flu that somehow crossed over from horses to dogs, was first diagnosed last year in racing greyhounds in Florida. It has since spread to dogs in at least a dozen other states. Between 5 percent and 8 percent of cases are fatal.

    In Connecticut, West Hartford kennel owner Myra Wahl noticed many dogs in her facility coughing late last month.

    "I thought, regardless of what this is, it is affecting a lot of dogs," she said.

    She closed the kennel, Planet Bark, for three weeks and called clients to tell them they should monitor their dogs.

    She also sent swabs from the sick dogs to Cornell University's veterinary college. The results showed that two dogs had the virus. They have since recovered.

    Dog owner Matthew Wallace of Farmington, whose whippet, Billy, was one of the sick dogs, got a phone call from Wahl while he was away on a business trip. He also learned his 8-year-old greyhound might be sick.

    "Thankfully my big man, who has injuries from his racing days, was OK," Wallace said. "But my little guy was very sick for a week or more. He was so sick he could not stand up for two days."

    State Veterinarian Mary Jane Lis said there are two cases of dog flu in Connecticut so far, but she did not confirm they were at Planet Bark.

    Lis says dog owners should assume that they highly contagious virus is widespread and all dogs are at risk.

    Dog flu is most easily contracted in gathering places such as kennels, dog shows, animal shelters and dog runs in parks. Some dogs don't show symptoms but can still spread the virus.


    Information from: The Hartford Courant,

    Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.,0,4001369.story?coll=ny-region-apconnecticut

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    Flu Alert from 7/9/2006 July 13, 2006 10:20 AM

    Blair M.
    DOG FLU IN FLORIDA IS IT ANYWHERE ELSE ? Sunday, 7/9/2006 8:32 AM
    Hi I live in Palm Beach County Florida which covers Jupiter all the way to Boca Raton. All the dog pounds and adoption centers are in quarrantine due to a dog flu. There is no cure for it and sadly some dogs pass on. I have not taken my dog to the groomer for they advise dog owners not to have dogs around other dogs. just wondering if any one else is aware of this and if any  other states or countries have this .  [ send green star]

    Angie H.
    So Far Sunday, 8:51 AM

    Here's what I've been able to find.  There haven't been many news updates on this since September of 2005.

    There have been confirmed cases of this virus in the following states: Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa.

    Nearly 80 percent of dogs exposed to the canine flu virus will contract only a mild form of the disease which mimics kennel cough, a type of canine bronchitis that is rarely serious. The mortality rate, which describes the percentage of animals that will die after contracting the disease, is in the much lower range of 5 to 8 percent, according to Dr. Cynda Crawford, the veterinary immunologist who first isolated the canine flu virus.

    Dr. Crawford describes the contagion as producing in dogs "a moist, productive cough that ends in a gagging response, that will persist for one to four weeks, despite treatment with antibiotics or cough suppressants. Some dogs develop a thick, yellow discharge from the nose. A very few dogs will spike a high fever, between 105 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. They become lethargic and weak, with rapid, shallow breathing. This is likely to progress to pneumonia." Other veterinary experts have estimated the potential death rate as between 1 and 10 percent, with the higher percentage applying to very young, very old, or infirm dogs.

    Presence of the virus in dogs can be confirmed only through blood tests performed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Results of such blood screens take as long as two weeks. Dr. Crawford recommends keeping dogs showing symptoms of respiratory disease at home and away from other dogs for up to two weeks. The CDC, which is tracking the disease, issued no official recommendations.

    The incubation period is two to five days and dogs may shed virus for seven to 10 days. The disease can spread rapidly throughout a boarding kennel. Dogs that are coughing SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT TO SHOWS, GROOMERS, DOG PARKS OR ANY PERFORMANCE EVENTS.

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    (Continued on next post)

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    Flu Alert from 7/9/2006 (cont.) July 13, 2006 10:23 AM

    (Continued from previous post)

    Michelle M.
     Sunday, 11:10 PM

    It's also been confirmed in Wyoming and Colorado.  We had an outbreak in Cheyenne at the Animal Shelter and the one I know of in Colorado was also at an Animal Shelter.  The Cheyenne shelter did euthanize over 30 dogs that tested positive but the 12 that were spared--the shelter didn't legally own the dogs--were treated and recovered.  Also, with the Cheyenne outbreak the only other cases that were confirmed in Cheyenne, the dogs that contracted the disease originated from the shelter.

    I also take my dog to the groomer and cancelled her appointment right away since I panicked.  I called them and asked about their procedures regarding sick dogs, since they also have a kennel, and they wouldn't accept dogs that showed signs of sickness.  They also sanitize everything extremely well--poor sanitation caused the outbreak at the shelter.  I went ahead and took her to the groomer a couple of days after I called even though the threat was still there and she's perfectly fine.  She was "grounded" however--not going to the park, not having contact with ANYONE but Mommy and Daddy for about 3 weeks.  The only time she went outside was to potty.

    I'm not sure if it's been stated in the previous post but the dog flu is treatable and a small percentage of dogs die from it. 


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    Blair M.
     Monday, 12:30 PM
    According to the authorities here in Palm Beach Countythey say it is not treatable I didn't bring my dog in for grooming for that reason. I really don't think enough people have paid attention to this in the grooming business.  [ send green star]

    Cross post from: Ask the Vet Techs > DOG FLU IN FLORIDA IS IT ANYWHERE ELSE ?

     [ send green star]

    Dog Flu Hits Florida July 20, 2006 3:58 PM

    Dog Flu Hits Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County

    June 30, 2006 : 12:00 AM

    Kelly Rada, right, of Shelter Vet To Go, talks with David Hahn, left, and Sara Mathews about the dog flu at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County while inspecting a dog.

    WABASSO — The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County has quarantined its dog adoption center for fear some of the animals may have a new virus, dog influenza.

    The University of Florida is running tests to see if the center's dogs have the illness, society Executive Director Joan Carlson said Thursday. Results won't be available until next week.

    Until further notice, the public should not bring in pets for adoption, Carlson said. And no pets will be adopted out. The shelter will continue to receive lost dogs.

    If the center has dog influenza, it also might be out in the community's canine population, she said. Recently, society workers phoned 80 people who adopted society dogs since May 15. Four had been treated for what was presumed to be a lesser common disease, kennel cough. But veterinarians had put to death two ill puppies, Carlson said.

    According to the University of Florida's veterinary school, dog influenza is centered in Miami-Dade, Duval, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Humane Society of St. Lucie County hasn't seen any cases of the disease, said spokesman Mike Winikoff.

    Carlson advises the general public to consult veterinarians if their dogs are sneezing, coughing and acting lethargic. About 80 percent of dogs that come in contact with the disease show symptoms ranging from mild to severe, with the youngest and oldest dogs being the hardest hit. Only 1 to 5 percent of the dogs die, she said.

    There is no known vaccine. Treatment is by antibiotics and good care, she said. "It is no different from when we get influenza," Carlson said.

    Sebastian veternarian Kelly Donaldson advises people to be concerned even if their pets develop a regular dry cough. Within three days, that could turn into the flu. She urges pet owners to isolate their animals as soon as a dry cough develops. That in-home quarantine should last two weeks.

    "You want to keep your dog away from other dogs," she said.

    So far, only three of the shelter's 30 adoption dogs are visibly sick. Five adult dogs have been put in isolation as a safeguard, Carlson said. The quarantine began Tuesday.

    Thursday night, the center brought in a St. Augustine veterinarian specializing in shelter medicine to make sure the shelter is doing everything possible to contain an outbreak.

    Earlier this year, the Humane Society of St. Lucie County did have cases of distemper that led to a halt in adoptions for several weeks in April, Winikoff said. Since then, the illness hasn't resurfaced.

    Shelter administrators restricted public access to the dogs while they were monitored for signs of disease. Adoptions were postponed and vaccinations were doubled to help fight the spread of distemper. Distemper symptoms begin with mild nasal congestion and drip, and progress to heavy breathing, lethargic behavior and death.

    Staff writer Casse Carling contributed to this report.


    This is a new virus in Florida. Currently it is centered in Miami-Dade, Duval, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

    Symptoms: Sneezing, coughing and lethargy.

    Treatment: Antibiotics and good care.

    Survival rate: Only 1 to 5 percent of all dogs — particularly the youngest and oldest — die of the virus.

    • For more information, go to a University of Florida Web site: or


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    Dog Flu Hits Florida (cont.) July 20, 2006 4:11 PM

    (Continue/Update from previous post)


    Indian River County Humane Society to Lift Dog Flu Quarantine

    July 4, 2006

    WABASSO — Although some of its dogs remain in a medical quarantine for possible dog flu, the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County plans to reopen its dog adoption program on Wednesday, officials said Monday.

    Up for adoption will be 35 healthy animals that either were brought in after the quarantine was imposed or didn't get sick during the quarantine, said society Executive Director Joan Carlson. Currently, the shelter has 68 dogs.

    On June 26, the center closed its adoption center for fear of dog flu. Since then, eight dogs showed symptoms similar to the disease, a potentially fatal illness for some dogs. Those eight were isolated and 30 others in the adoption area were put under a temporary quarantine — while samples were went off to the University of Florida for testing, Carlson said.

    Carlson learned Monday that the initial tests came back negative for dog flu, but a second round of testing is needed, she said.

    From past experience, veterinarians have found that animals may not show evidence of the disease until more time goes by, she said. The test checks for antibodies dogs develop in reaction to the virus.

    "We hear that it is likely that there is dog flu" in the shelter, she said. "From the symptoms they had, it looks like they have the flu."

    So far, all eight sick dogs — puppies and an adult dog — "are doing really well," she said. "If you walked in today, you would not see any dogs that look sick. They all look great."

    The quarantined dogs are being kept separate from the dogs that are to be offered for adoption beginning Wednesday, she said. The society's shelter has rooms for isolating dogs, so they are segregated from the other pets housed there. "We are taking a very conservative approach," she said.

    However, "We would advise anyone with a dog at home to not adopt one of our pets for two weeks" just in case a shelter dog does harbor the virus, Carlson said.

    For the past two weeks, the Palm Beach County Animal Services adoption program has been closed because of dog flu, program officials said. Dog flu is known also to exist in Dade, Duval and Broward counties.

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