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.