A veterinary hospital recently transferred sick dogs to a rescue, knowing they’d been exposed to the canine flu, along with one having actually been treated for it. And now Almost Home Foundation is facing huge medical bills to treat not only those dogs, but others that were exposed to them.
By now everyone in the Chicago metropolitan area has heard about the new strain of canine flu. In recent months, an epidemic swept through the area. In fact, a case has now been suspected in a South Loop pet store. While this dog flu has the potential to be fatal, in most cases it can be managed well if treated early. Most crucial is avoiding contact with others once exposure to the flu is suspected.
A Pet Rescue and A Dishonest Animal Hospital
Given this, the actions by our local veterinarian hospital/boarding kennel are inexcusable. Not only did they not disclose the possible contamination to the rescue organization, they also have not given any notice to the hospital visitors, boarding clients, or anyone else who have pets that may have been exposed at this Schaumburg, Illinois facility.
Almost Home Foundation never received notification that the hospital and boarding kennel were contaminated, or that dogs they took in may have been exposed to the canine flu until after they insisted the hospital test the dogs. The first dog was treated for the H3N2 canine flu prior to the hospital handing him over for rescue. It wasn’t until the rescue had taken in two more dogs from them, however, before that information was disclosed.
In other words, veterinarians knowingly passed contagious animals on to a rescue organization that has hundreds of animals in its care, and that utilizes volunteer foster homes, without disclosing even the possibility of illness.
In the meantime, the other two dogs developed the flu, and passed it on to a fellow foster dog as well. Additionally, all the dogs in the AHF kennel are now in isolation, since they, too, were unknowingly exposed.
At this point, there are four dogs confirmed sick with the H3N2 canine flu, in the care of AHF, with at least eight more dogs coughing. Although the dogs have been quarantined since Almost Home became aware of their exposure, no one can say how many other dogs exposed to them beforehand may also get sick.
And perhaps most heartbreaking – Nugget, the adorable chihuahua pictured above – is in extreme condition from this flu. He was treated at a trusted emergency vet hospital for a couple of days after being so sick he couldn’t eat. He suffers from epilepsy, so not eating was very dangerous for him. He was in such critical condition that the attending vet was concerned he would not survive if he experienced a seizure. After constant veterinary watch with multiple medications and continuous fluids, he’s now resting in his foster home and will hopefully have the chance to recuperate.
The estimate for the first night alone of that emergency treatment was $2900.
One wonders how veterinarians – people who’ve dedicated their lives to the health and well-being of animals – could be so flippant about something as serious as this canine flu. There is one animal hospital in our Chicago northwest suburban area that takes in the majority of strays, so as a rescue devoted to helping homeless pets it’s very difficult to avoid working with this unethical practice.
A Pet Rescue and Canine Flu
It may be a long road to recovery for some of these dogs, but we’re praying that every one of those infected will survive and ultimately thrive. Almost Home Foundation is determined to do everything they can for these innocent victims. It’s going to cost a lot though – and anything you can give to help will go straight to their care.
(If you’re viewing this via mobile and cannot see the GoFundMe widget above – you can find our fundraiser here)
As for the Schaumburg animal hospital/boarding kennel in question – Chuck Hanson, President of Almost Home Foundation, says, “It’s baffling how a group of professionals allegedly devoted to the care of animals would knowingly allow not only the lack of testing and treatment for ones that are possibly ill, but to also endanger others by not disclosing the presence of this highly contagious illness on their premises. Because of their negligence in refusing to treat these dogs, Almost Home Foundation now bears the full burden of medical expenses for these animals. To take advantage of the concern a pet rescue has for the welfare of animals by passing on these expenses is unconscionable.”
What can you do to safeguard your pet?
During periods of outbreaks, it is recommended you avoid high-exposure locations such as dog parks, grooming salons, and boarding kennels. Symptoms of canine flu include lethargy, fever, discharge from nose, and coughing; keep in mind some dogs may be asymptomatic but still contagious. If your dog shows signs of the illness, contact your veterinarian immediately. The American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA, provides a pet owner’s guide to canine influenza. To keep abreast of the latest updates regarding the Chicago area, please visit Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.
Please donate to help AHF with these expenses. And do not hesitate to question your pet professionals on their protocols for minimizing the spread of this canine flu!. My groomer offered up all the details of what they’re doing to ensure the welfare of their clients – without my even asking!