First Confirmation of Canine Influenza Virus Detected at CACC
April 27, 2015
Chicago, Illinois - Chicago Animal Care & Control (CACC) is working with national experts to fight the canine influenza virus (CIV) with the first confirmation of CIV at the city shelter facility coming over the weekend.
CACC has actively been monitoring the shelter's animal health population since initial reports surfaced earlier this year of a CIV outbreak which has affected virtually every animal shelter in Chicago, as well as boarding facilities and veterinary hospitals. In March, the City began consultation with nationally renowned shelter veterinary medicine expert Dr. Sandra Newbury from the University of Wisconsin. At the same time, CACC reviewed and updated the animal isolation protocols and cleaning protocols to provide enhanced protection for animals against the spread of disease, including CIV.
In the beginning of April, CACC began a CIV surveillance program in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin shelter medicine expert team, to actively monitor this viruis. CACC has been actively testing dogs at our shelter to determine whether CIV has affected our population.
CACC worked strategically to keep CIV out of the facility as long as possible, including cancelling microchip and vaccine clinics in March and April. After weeks of testing samples with all negative findings, on April 24, CACC received the first clear confirmation that CIV was present in their shelter population. 21 symptomatic dogs tested positive for this highly contagious disease. CACC is actively monitoring each of the 250 dogs currently at the shelter, as we work to protect against the spread of CIV and treat the illness in affected animals.
As soon as CACC detected this illness in the building, we immediately suspended dog adoptions from the facility, identified isolation spaces for infected animals, enhanced symptom monitoring by medical staff, and initiated treatment for all 21 diagnosed animals. CACC is engaging in a systematic deep cleaning of various areas of the shelter. Additionally, CACC has implemented reverse isolation procedures where new animals that come into the building who are likely not affected are placed as far away as possible from dogs actively infected. Continuing reinforcement training is being conducted for all shelter staff on cleaning and handling protocols and CACC will continue to work with University of Wisconsin veterinarians to ensure best practices are followed.
"We are actively evaluating this situation as we continue to assess our population's health, working closely with the University of Wisconsin - Shelter Medicine Program and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, with support from Maddie's Fund, to monitor for disease and resolution of viral shedding," said CACC Executive Director Sandra Alfred. "We will continue to manage sick dogs in our population while minimizing the impact of the disease on our life saving work. The temporary halting of our dog adoption is consistent with the program interruptions CIV has caused for other shelters who have previously encountered CIV, but we are working tirelessly to resume animal adoptions as soon as it is safe to do so."
Background on CIV:
This is an extremely contagious virus that can live on surfaces and on clothing for up to 24 to 48 hours. Most dogs that are infected will show mild or moderate signs of respiratory illness including cough, nasal discharge, and fever 2-4 days after exposure. A small percentage of dogs will develop more severe clinic signs and could develop pneumonia. Very few dogs in the Chicago area have dies as a result of the outbreak, which had only now reached CACC. Dogs infected with influenza are normally contagious to others for only about 7-10 days after infection but they may be contagious before they begin to show signs of illness. The length of time dogs are infectious is still being evaluated for this strain in this outbreak.
This influenza virus has not been been shown to be contagious to humans. While this train of virus was shown to infect cats in Korea it has not currently affected any other species of animals in the US>
The ways Chicagoans can help CACC:
Adopt from any of our many transfer partners in Chicago. Our Homeward Bound Transfer Program is still in full force saving lives. We have reached out to our rescue partners and are holding a follow up meeting Monday to ensure processes are still in place for groups who can safely continue to pull animals without spreading infection to other dogs or new areas. We have 140 transfer partners including PAWS Chicago, Treehouse Humane Society, the Anti-Cruelty Society and many more partners. Dogs are still available for adoption from a variety of sources and we encourage potential to adopters to work with our partners in this critical time.
If you are an owner planning to relinquish your animal to animal shelter please consider waiting to do so. While we are an open admission facility and will not turn you away, waiting or working to independently find a new home for your animal will help protect your dog as well as other dogs in the shelter.
Continue your work to break the cycle of transmission in our community. Keep your dog away from coming into contact with other dogs.
Additional Information on CIV:
All CACC operations are based out of our shelter located at:
The facility includes: