The Dog (and Cat) Flu in Chicago

You guys,

The Flu is uncool.

The Flu is not to be trusted.

Serious business here in Chicago. Some of you may have heard that we’ve had a major outbreak of flu in dogs . As it turns out, it can also be caught by cats. Here’s a quick time line of events as they happened in our life:

  • MomFOD took Niles to the doctor and overheard them discussing a dog who was “more congested than we’ve ever seen before and had to be hospitalized”
  • The first reports of the flu appeared on the news
  • Dog parks and boarding centers began to shut down. Dog owners were advised strongly to keep their dogs away from others.
  • Chicago TV news indicated that the strain of flu has never been seen outside of China and Korea and that dogs here in the US have almost no immunity to it and the current vaccines aren’t preventing it
  • The flu is found to last up to 48 hours on clothing and hard surfaces and is highly contagious
  • It is discovered that cats can also catch the flu
  • 1100 cases have been reported in Chicago with six deaths thus far

So how are we handling it here? As many of you know, we live in a high rise building in a very crowded area of the city. Doodle is the high risk since she has to leave the building at least three times a day and is unable to do so without running into at least three or more dogs along the way. Therefore, the FODs made the decision to leave her sequestered at the GrandFOD’s house with their dogs. None of them are being allowed to go out for walks, to parks, or to interact with any other dogs. They are being exercised in a private yard.

Both cats and dogs are susceptible.

Both cats and dogs are susceptible.

Some boarding centers have reopened and some parks still remain available to dogs, but people are being urged to avoid contact. Humans should wash their hands after petting any dogs because, although it’s not contagious to people, it can be spread to other animals.

What are the symptoms?

Look for signs of coughing, lethargy, runny nose, and fever.

"No flu for Doo!"

“No flu for Doo!”


If your dog presents these symptoms, call your doctor right away. You may need to wait for an appointment since the vets here are overrun with cases. Some vets are asking symptomatic dogs to stay in their cars until they’re seen and to wear masks within the offices.

And still, despite all this, we’ve seen several reports of people on the news saying they’re “unconcerned” and “meh… he’s healthy.” We here are refusing to take any chances with a senior cat, several animals over 10, and kittens with undeveloped immune systems. Doodle stays where it’s safe until this has passed.

What would you do?




Sources and further reading: NBC News

Chicago Tribune

21 thoughts on “The Dog (and Cat) Flu in Chicago

  1. Sounds serious, and scary! So glad that Doodle is out of harms way–you did exactly what I would have done. You can never be too cautious when it comes to the safely of your family. Devon and I will keep you in our thoughts!!

  2. I am so scared of this since I heard cats can get it. We have been doing vet check ups & shots so we have to go to the vet office. Ours is a small clinic with close quarters. And my one kitty gets colds easily so that makes me nervous & can get very sick. My cats don’t go outside except to the vet. I know in WI I have heard about it a lot. I don’t know if my vet has seen a lot. Will ask when we go this Sat.
    Sue B

  3. Very serious business, and very scary! We have a post queued for tomorrow about the potential impact to cats and the research that backs why people should be concerned. We’re glad to see the word getting out. Articles as recently as yesterday are full of pretty serious minsinformation, especially the ones that assure that the “old” dog flu shots will work on the new virus. We hope this gets under control in a hurry, and are concerned about what it will mean for BlogPaws attendees traveling from all over. We’re super-glad that Doodle is staying safe and so are you kitties!

  4. doodle…de fodz did rite…..better safe than sorree az de sayin goes…..we hurd bout thiz over heer…we troo lee hope ewe iz aye oh kay doodle & niles ewe az well buddy …hope ya wuz just in fora chex up ♥♥♥♥

  5. OMC Crepes, so sowry y’all awe havin’ such pawful times there. There’s always sum idiot in a crowd and dat’s why these fings get so outta hand. Wee’ll be purrayin’ fur y’all. Stay safe.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  6. yes, we just recently heard that on Sunday they announced that the vaccines the vets are asking dog owners to get do not protect against this strain.

    So far, no flu cases here in Michigan that i know of.

    They also say for dogs not to be groomed at a grooming salon. We have Dakota groomed at the vet so I am not concerned there. We NEVER go to dog parks because we (and our vet), think they are awful. Many dogs who frequent dog parks aren’t vaccinated, even when their owners swear that they are.

    We live in an apt/condo building with one other dog (and one who visits), we share a courtyard in the back…thankfully, this is one time that I am THRILLED that Dakota doesn’t care for other dogs.

  7. It says that this flu can effect cats. The symptoms listed for dogs are shown in this news page, but do cats have the same symptoms as dogs do?

Stumps up? Stumps down? What are your thoughts?