April 28, 2015

The subject of a canine flu outbreak is a little off the beaten path for us, but the Pet Age staff thought that it was an important topic to cover.

It would seem that you all agree: The first of the articles was the most shared and viewed story in our history. The second story—about the likelihood this outbreak is caused by a new strain of canine influenza—has also been heavily shared. Obviously, this is a topic that concerns readers and we are thrilled that you found the stories worthwhile enough to share with your friends and colleagues.

A potentially fatal canine flu circulating is worrisome news for pet owners, but it also has real consequences for retailers, groomers, vets and the rest of our readership. This virus is highly contagious and owners may choose to keep their dogs away from other dogs. This will no doubt have an impact on groomers, doggy day care centers and similar businesses.

The outbreak has been confined to the greater Chicago area. So far. Without being alarmist, our modern mobility means that contagious disease can travel fast. This makes the subject important for pet people everywhere. One of our aims in producing the stories was to provide information about the flu to pet professionals who may be fielding calls from worried pet owners.

If you didn’t read the stories (and you really should), the summary is this: There’s a contagious and potentially fatal outbreak of canine flu in Chicago. Symptoms include hacking cough, nasal and ocular discharge and lack of appetite. If you or one of your customers has a potentially infected dog, contact a veterinarian. This flu strain does not affect humans.

When there are new developments in this outbreak, we will bring them to you. Also, given the response to this story, we will be looking for ways to include more health-related content in our print and digital platforms.

I hope everyone’s pets stay healthy

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