The Willamette Humane Society in Salem, Ore. reports that dogs there are coming down with a respiratory illness called 'Canine Influenza' or H3N8. The illness mimics a kennel cough and while a dog can become very ill, the mortality rate is low.
So far 3 dogs at the Salem shelter have come down with the highly contagious illness; it can spread rapidly because dogs have no natural immunity to it. Local TV News reported that the Willamette Humane Society actually shut down for the day on Friday of last week and workers there are taking precautions not to spread the influenza, including imposing a 10-day quarantine on dogs suspected of being ill.
Canine Influenza: Spreading in U.S.
Joan Towers, Exec. Director of Willamette says that the illness hasn't been around long. “Canine Influenza is a very rare and unusual disease that's new to dogs," she told the News station. "It's only been since 2005, 2006 that there's been any cases known in the United States."
Canine influenza has spread rapidly despite being relatively new to the U.S., so much so that in New York, southern Florida and northern Colorado/southern Wyoming, it is considered endemic, and it is now present in at least 22 U.S. states. The illness is also widespread in Canada.
The sickness is not transferable to humans or other species.