As canine influenza continues to spread across the greater Chicago area, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospitals are encouraging pet owners to make sure their pets are current on their vaccinations.


According to Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control in Illinois, more than 1,000 dogs have become sick and five have died as a result of canine influenza. At BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ three specialty and emergency hospitals in the greater Chicago area, 40 cases have been seen in the last week.

“The recent marked increase in canine respiratory disease in Chicago and the surrounding area is very concerning,” said Dr. Mark Ernst, the state veterinarian for Illinois with the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare.

The outbreak is believed to be limited to the Chicago area. However, BluePearl doctors say it’s a good reminder to all owners to keep their pets up to date on vaccinations.

“We highly recommend that pet owners speak with their primary care veterinarians to make sure their pets are current on their vaccines, including the vaccination for canine influenza,” said Dr. Juliet Gladden, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care with BluePearl in Illinois.

Canine influenza starts out similar to kennel cough and spreads through interaction with other dogs.

Unlike kennel cough, the symptoms associated with canine influenza or canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) are much more severe.

The symptoms of CIRD include coughing, fever, lethargy and a general lack of appetite.

“If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Gladden.