Update on Canine Influenza
INDIANAPOLIS (28 October 2005)â€”Recent media coverage of a new influenza virus infecting dogs is generating many calls and inquiries. While relatively little is known about the disease, this Advisory is to provide an update for practitioners to assist in advising clients.
To date, no cases have been identified in Indiana. The disease has sickened and/or killed animals in Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa. Infection has been concentrated in greyhounds at dog racing tracks.
Clinically, canine influenza presents very similarly to "kennel cough," or Bordetella, as it starts with coughing up to three weeks. The major differences are that nearly every dog exposed becomes infected, as most canines are naÃ¯ve to this new virus. Sickened animals may develop a fever as high as 107 degrees F. In its milder form, this flu causes a low-grade fever along with coughing and a runny nose. Antibiotic treatments can help resolve the runny nose, suggesting a secondary bacterial infection contributes to clinical signs.
More severe cases can result in pneumonia that may lead to death. Mortality is believed to be low, approximately 1 percent to five percent, but as reported as high as 10 percent in immuno-suppressed and very young or old dogs. Supportive care for those that have developed pneumonia (including antibiotics and fluids) has been successful.
No vaccine or cure are currently available. The disease is highly contagious, and infected animals should be isolated. Disease incubation time is only 2 days to 5 days.
The Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine can test blood samples if a case is suspected.
Dog owners are advised not to panic, but be aware of clinical signs that indicate a pet needs to see a veterinarian. Normal, healthy dogs, if exposed, will likely become ill but recover. Very old, very young and immuno-suppressed pets are at highest risk, should they be exposed. The risk of exposure is quite low for most dogs under average circumstances. Owners who travel frequently with their pets to infected regions of the country, particularly where many canines gather, such as dog shows and kennel areas, should exercise caution and watch their animals closely for any signs of illness after a trip.
This virus is not known to have any human health effects, and should NOT be confused with strains known to infect people.
Public Information Director
Indiana State Board of Animal Health
8/14/06: information from dvm Newsmagazine
A recent national survey shows that canine influenza has been confirmed in 22 states (so far, not in IN). In this study, the virus had a 7% mortality rate (7 dogs per 100 infected dogs died). The disease can hit any facility that dogs routinely enter, regardless of cleanliness, etc. (shelters and pounds were most affected, but boarding and grooming facilities, veterinary clinics and university veterinary hospitals have all been hit).
Like the human influenza virus, this virus is continuously changing. Once a successful vaccine has been developed, a new vaccine will probably have to be developed every year to continue to prevent outbreaks.
Out of 100 infected dogs:
20 will show no symptoms, but may be able to transmit the infection to others.
the remaining 80 dogs will be divided into two categories
Mild infection: low grade fever, nasal discharge, and a persistent cough which may last up to three
Severe infection: high fever, increased respirations and difficulty breathing, pneumonia
Most deaths are related to secondary bacterial infections in addition to the pneumonia, and treatments are primarily directed at these secondary infections and supportive care.
Source of the infection:
Still not confirmed, but the first cases were reported at greyhound race tracks in Florida. Many dog trainers at greyhound tracks believe that feeding raw meat improves their dogs ability to run. They tend to feed raw horse meat for economic reasons, and it is possible that if the horse died or was put down due to equine flu, it is possible that the virus was transmitted to dogs through this feeding technique (raw food).
Out of the samples submitted in the recent study,
56% from Colorado tested positive
43% from Wyoming tested positive
27% from Connecticut
21% were positive from Florida & New York
Hawaii, Iowa, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Delaware, and Mississippi have had confirmed cases.
(sorry, there was no list of all the states with confirmed cases).