Last April, pet owners all over the Midwest were worried as the outbreak of canine flu took over the news and their pets. In Chicago, P.A.W.S. Of Tinley Park was able to display a sign saying “We are flu free” one month later.
Trixie, a dog that came down with canine flu at P.A.W.S., is back to her energetic old self, and even found herself in the new home of Valerie Davis. She tested negative for the flu two weeks later.
But Trixie was not the only dog at the shelter who caught the canine flu. At one point 34 out of 35 dogs at the shelter were all suffering from flu, forcing P.A.W.S. to temporarily close its doors.
Due to the close quarters of the shelter, the flu was able to make its rounds around the animals and easily spread. The contagious illness spread to over one thousand dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, all testing positive for the virus.
John Greenan, director of P.A.W.S., stated that they ended up losing a couple of animals to the epidemic, but is forever grateful to its volunteers who acted as the backbone to the shelter.
Animals came down with persistent coughs, runny noses and fevers. Doctor John Coyne of Midwest Animal Hospital cared for all the dogs at P.A.W.S.
“Some animals required oxygen therapy, others needed to be nebulized. The shelter switched back and forth between intravenous and oral antibiotics until we found something that worked,” Coyne said. “Every case was individual.”
Dr. Coyne recommends pet owners in these areas get their pets all their required immunization, to prevent an outbreak like this from every happening again and so that places like P.A.W.S. can stay open, and their dogs can continue to find happy homes.