CNN recently reported that more than 1000 dogs in Chicago have been diagnosed with canine flu… resulting in at least five deaths. As dog lovers, pet owners and a veterinary clinic, this story has — obviously — been one we’ve watched carefully. Due to the increasing demand for holistic veterinary care, we wanted to address this issue head on, to both alleviate undue fear as well as better equip our readers and patients to protect their own furry friends.

One important thing to remember is that with the news, if it bleeds, it leads… so the scarier a story can be told, the more viral it goes. Still, the numbers of flu cases in and near Chicago are enough to cause concern.

The good news is that we’re on top of it. Of course, we always sanitize our rooms in between each patient. Just as with the human flu, we wash our hands before and after handling / petting any dog and we encourage owners to do the same. For our readers who live outside of our area, I encourage you to ask YOUR veterinarian to commit to the same. In our clinic, we have not seen any cases to date.

What about the canine flu vaccine?

Yes, there is a flu vaccine but we aren’t recommending it for one primary reason: The vaccine takes 2-3 weeks for the body to respond to it and in the meantime, the vaccine will weaken your dog’s immune system potentially putting your dog at additional risk.

What we DO recommend (in addition to simple — but effective — hand washing) is a great anti-viral like Echinacea to help protect your pet. We have a fabulous product on hand if you’d like to give your pet an extra dose of protection. Essential oil combinations like Thieves from Young Living can also be very helpful. If you’d like more information about either of these options or about the canine flu — no matter where you live — feel free to contact our office.

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