The Canine Flu Impact
It has been nearly two years since the new strain of the dog flu, or Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), first Struck the Chicago area. While it started in dog boarding and daycare facilities, it is now impacting Chicago Animal Care & Control, the city pound, most severely.
Because of the large populations of animals exposed to one another and a lack of isolation facilities, virtually every dog at the pound has CIV, which means some rescue groups and shelters had to cut down or stop taking in dogs. CIV-exposed animals need to be quarantined for up to 30 days to avoid spreading the virus. All CIV-infected dogs require isolation and some also need advanced medical attention for secondary infections like pneumonia.
PAWS Chicago has been able to continue to save CIV-positive dogs from the pound by utilizing the Medical Center on 26th Street to quarantine infected animals. The Medical Center has a large, previously unused space that has been converted into a CIV ward for the infected animals.
The PAWS Chicago Medical Center is the only facility in Chicago equipped to take in a large volume of CIV cases. Since 2015, PAWS has cared for more than 750 animals with CIV and currently has dogs in quarantine with the illness, along with many others in foster homes.Since the new strain of CIV was discovered (H3N2), PAWS has run swabs on 1225 dogs.
Donate toward CIV Medical Expenses
To house and treat the CIV-exposed dogs rescued by PAWS, we incurred nearly $200,000 in unexpected costs. And these heightened costs are continuing as we increase the number of CIV dogs we take in.
- $21 for each swab to check whether dogs are infected with CIV. Cost: average of $42 based on two swabs per dog
- We have added hours to our veterinarian and vet tech staffing to accommodate the additional dogs with CIV. Cost: $64 per dog
- Medications such as Doxycycline and Clindamycin are required for treatment. Cost: $115 per dog (cost includes vet tech time)
- Housing dogs with CIV for 30 days at our Medical Center until they were no longer contagious. Cost: $5 a day or $150 per dog. (Before this epidemic, most healthy dogs stayed at our Medical Center for only about three days each.)
- Additional expense for four animal care givers at our Medical Center: Cost: $396 per day
By donating, you are helping us take in and save more dogs that may not otherwise survive.
Medical Center Expansion
While the CIV crisis hit Chicago particularly hard, it is only one in a long list of infectious diseases that continually impact shelter populations. The limitations of the current Medical Center, particularly isolation space, have created a bottleneck in PAWS’ ability to take in more animals.
In addition to treating sick animals, the Medical Center is the first stop for every pet rescued by PAWS. Each animal is given a complete medical exam, dentistry and spay/neuter surgery.
Dealing with the volume of CIV-positive dogs has brought sharp focus to the need for PAWS Chicago to expand its Medical Center in 2016, with the goal of tripling its capacity to treat animals in need.
“As we get closer to No Kill, we are seeing a larger percentage of homeless cats and dogs who are either sick or injured,” says Paula Fasseas, PAWS Chicago Founder and Chair. Currently, more than 75 percent of incoming animals are treated for a medical condition beyond the standard protocol. The organization is able to save greater than 97 percent of the animals brought into its program, even while taking in a vulnerable population of animals.
But there’s more to be done. “Expanding our capacity to treat sick and injured animals is essential to reaching our goal of building a No Kill Chicago,” Fasseas says. Read more about the Medical Center expansion project >>
Foster a CIV+ dog
To increase capacity to save more dogs with CIV, PAWS recently launched the Foster First program. Families without dogs are able to foster a dog during the isolation period in order to open space at the Medical Center to save more CIV-infected animals. Once the foster dog is medically cleared, the foster family can adopt the dog. Learn more about out Foster First program >>