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Dog Flu Strain Traced To Asia; Cats May Be In Danger

(CBS) -- The canine influenza outbreak afflicting more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest is caused by a different strain of the virus than was earlier assumed, according to laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin.


Dr. Natalie Marks of Blum Animal Hospital at 3219 North Clark Street tells WBBM the H3N2 virus has previously only been found in Asia.

"We don't know at this point how it came into the Chicago dog community. But it's contagious to dogs and now can cause respiratory disease in cats."

Marks says there is no vaccine but a previous vaccine for a different dog flu that hit the Chicago area in 2008 does offer some crossover protection.

She says she and other vets across Chicago have been working non-stop and says if your dog is coughing, lethargic, won't eat, or has a runny nose, you s houldget them to the vet quickly and keep them away from dog parks and and doggie daycare.

"It's incredibly contagious and it will affect a dog whether it's a two-year-old or a 12-year-old and anywhere in between."

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