Concerns rise again over dog flu cases in Chicago

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CHICAGO -- Canine influenza is making a comeback in the Chicago-area.

WGN-TV producer Lauren Miholic says her 2-year old Labrador mix developed a miserable cough after staying at PetSmart's South Loop PetsHotel, last weekend.

"I'm concerned and I want to make sure that he's ok," said Miholic.

Dog flu is not confirmed, but Miholic says Comiskey is lethargic and not eating much.

PetSmart stopped taking new reservations  for the PetsHotel and doggie daycare at the South Loop location after one confirmed case of canine influenza and multiple cases of respiratory illness, this week.

Several other dog flu cases have been reported at city veterinary clinics, said Dr. Robert Armantano from the Veterinary Specialty Center at Illinois. To prevent spread  of the highly contagious virus, Armantano is encouraging pet parents to keep their pooches away from doggy parks, kennels,  and hotels.

The flu vaccine does not appear to protect against the current strain, said Armantano. Earlier this year, a deadly flu outbreak sickened more than a thousand dogs in Chicago.

 

Statement from PetSmart:

We have seen multiple cases of canine respiratory illness in dogs in our South Loop PetsHotel location. At this point, we have one confirmed case of Canine Influenza, which we learned of on Tuesday, July 28.

Out of caution, we immediately stopped taking new reservations for the PetsHotel and Doggie Day Camp. We have also contacted most pet parents with pets staying in this hotel to ask them to pick up their pets if possible, and are in the process of contacting pet parents who have had pets recently stay in the hotel. Once all pets have been safely removed from the hotel, we will begin a rigorous 72-hour disinfecting process. In the meantime, pets remaining in our care will be monitored around the clock by a PetSmart associate. In partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital, these pets will also receive multiple visits every day from a Banfield veterinarian.

The health and well-being of pets is our top priority, and we are going to do everything we can to help contain the spread of this virus and ensure the pets in our PetsHotels receive the best care possible. We are closely monitoring the virus and will continue to take precautionary action as appropriate.

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