Just got off the phone with Dr. Yan Zhang, the biologist in the State Veterinarian’s office. There is ONE potential case of H3N2 in Ohio and the test has been sent to Cornell and has yet to be confirmed. H3N2 is the “Asian flu” from Chicago that has no vaccine. (There IS a vaccine for H3N8– which has been in the U.S. since 2008— and he noted as an aside that they have seen LESS of H3N8 than they usually do.) Though the risk for exposure in this state is close to nil, out of an abundance of caution, at Fort St. Clair’s shows this year judges will allow exhibitors to show their dogs’ mouth, there will be plenty of hand-sanitizer and wet wipes available. (We are still looking for a portable hand-washing station.) The AKC will allow us to excuse dogs from the show who appear to be ill. It was a great relief to find that there is NO OUTBREAK of this flu in our area. We hope that taking some common sense precautions we can maintain that.
We know you’re worried. On Monday, we will call the State Veterinarian’s office to see if there are actually any CONFIRMED cases of H3N8 in Ohio. (Media reports are notoriously unreliable– all of the confirmed deaths have been in the Chicago area, and the number of deaths has not increased in the last week.) In any case, we believe that showing a healthy dog at our show presents very little risk.
Still, we don’t want your dogs to get sick at all, let alone on our watch.
An emergency medical clinic in Ann Arbor, Michigan spoke with reporters about incidents of an unknown virus they’ve seen in their clinic. Unfortunately, they linked it to to the “circovirus in Ohio,” even though it has different symptoms, no tissue samples have been taken from the Michigan dogs, the Michigan Veterinary Association has not made an official statement and there is no word from that state’s Department of Agriculture or state veterinarian. Oh, and it hasn’t been confirmed that circovirus even played a role in the death of dogs here in Ohio.
The symptoms in Michigan include extreme lethargy, vomiting and bloody diarrhea and a very short period of illness followed by death, 12-24 hours. In some instances the affected dogs’ owners had also been ill. Even more alarming, the clinic also said that some dogs were asymptomatic, but necropsy turned up similar findings.
The thing is, this is just coming out of one vet clinic– and the statements have been made by a very young veterinarian, Dr. Lindsay Ruland (a 2009 graduate) and these remarks were picked up by the media– with everyone jumping to conclusions. We don’t know what these people saw in their clinic. They don’t know what they saw in their clinic, other than it involved an uptick in cases involving a parvo-like virus.
The advice remains the same. If your dog is ill, take the dog to the vet. There are no cures yet for affected dogs, but those that get early intervention make good recoveries.
In the meantime, just stay calm and wait ’till we know something more about this from a more reliable source.
An update from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association on the “Ohio Virus.” (There’s not much here, folks, sorry.)
“Beyond the initial reports involving eight dogs (four in the Cincinnati area and four in Canal Fulton), there have not been any confirmed reports to the Ohio Department of Agriculture of additional dogs becoming ill or dying from the canine illness of unknown origin. A few additional suspected cases have been submitted for testing; however, there have been no confirmed additional instances of the virus at this point.
While there has been some suspicion that the unknown illness is caused by a canine circovirus, that has not been confirmed. Information to date points to the possibility of at least some other factor or factors contributing to the illness. [emphasis added]
At present, how the disease initiated remains unknown. (note from FSCKC: this statement is directly contradicted by the State Veterinarian, Tony Forshey. I think we will go with his statement, rather than some clerk at the OVMA.)
There is no vaccine or other means of prevention currently known, other than following good hygiene and keeping your dog away from direct contact with the excretions of other dogs.
Symptoms of the disease include severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy or weakness. There are a variety of illnesses that can produce some or all of these symptoms, so their presence in your dog does not necessarily mean it has acquired this unknown illness.
All evidence suggests that owners who seek treatment from a veterinarian quickly from the onset of the symptoms significantly enhance survival and recovery. Without treatment, the time from initial signs of illness to death is believed to be only three to four days.”
So, we’re still spreading the same message: if your dog comes down with these symptoms, see your veterinarian. Even if it is not the “Ohio Virus”, your dog is very ill and needs care. Stay out of dog parks, and away from any other areas that contain pet waste.