Last Friday, CBS News reported that a canine influenza vaccine shortage is making dog owners take extra precautions.
To clarify the situation, CBS spoke to Dr. Sara Kessel, a veterinarian at Old Town Animal Care Center. According to Dr. Kessel, the Chicago metro area is a regular hotspot for canine influenza. “It’s very endemic to the Chicagoland area because of the sheer population of dogs that there is,” she said. “A lot of dogs in one area, there’s a lot of very social dogs in the city.”
Apparently, supply chain shortages have kneecapped vaccine distribution since late last year. Dr. Kessel says canine influenza is risky for all dogs, but especially younger dogs who haven’t had a chance to become immune yet.
Chicago Has Had Canine Influenza Problems in the Past
For dog owners in Chicago, a vaccine shortage brings back dire memories of a massive outbreak in 2015. Back then, canine influenza cases spiked so rapidly that people began to fear a possible mutation jumping to humans. In fact, the situation was so alarming the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) even released official guidance for dog owners.
As a precautionary measure, boarding facilities and dog daycares closed for weeks to slow the spread. According to The Animal Medical Center of Chicago, the outbreak came from a previously unknown strain of flu called H3N2. Several dogs had to receive “significant medical care for three to six weeks”. Thankfully, a new bivalent vaccine was developed, and many dogs were spared. Now, however, that same vaccine is seriously lacking.
Not Surprisingly, Windy City Dog Owners Are Maintaining Social Distance
In the meantime, Chicago dog owners are playing it safe and staying away from dog parks and other well-trodden public spaces. For dog owners elsewhere, a yearly influenza vaccine is a highly recommended precautionary measure not just for your dog, but yourself as well.