Press Release – UPDATED
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Office of Communications
Increase in Prevalence of Canine Influenza Virus
(Atlanta) Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb confirms an increase in the prevalence of canine respiratory disease found in dogs associated with exhibitions and assemblies. As a result, dogs from multiple states have been diagnosed with Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) infections. This increase in infection is associated with a high virulence and infection rate. The strain of CIV currently observed in this event is H3N2.
“Contact your private veterinarian immediately if your dog develops canine influenza like symptoms,” Dr. Cobb says. “Common symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, lack of appetite and fever. To prevent the spread of the virus, be sure to establish and maintain proper biosecurity procedures.”
In May, dogs from multiple states attended a dog show held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Georgia. Many of the dogs had recently attended dog shows in other states. Following the show in Perry, multiple attendee dogs developed respiratory disease and have been found positive to H3N2. Several kennels in Georgia are reporting increased respiratory disease. Isolation and testing is in progress. At this time, five (5) reported confirmed positive cases of Canine Influenza have been found in Georgia.
The virus does not appear to affect humans, but is highly contagious in dogs. The mortality rate for canine influenza is low and most dogs recover without any complications. Affected animals should be isolated until a diagnosis is made and appropriate veterinary action taken. Canine Influenza is not reportable to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Canine Influenza Virus has an incubation period of 2 to 5 days. Infected dogs can shed virus particles in body secretions regardless of a dog exhibiting clinical signs or not. The general clinical signs of CIV are coughing, sneezing, anorexia, fever, and malaise. Runny eyes and a runny nose may or may not be present. More severe clinical signs of canine influenza virus are a high fever, (104.0 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, pneumonia, hemorrhagic pneumonia, trouble breathing and potential secondary bacterial pneumonia. Transmission of CIV can occur from virus aerosolized by barking, coughing, sneezing, and surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus can remain present on surfaces for several days. Coughing for several weeks after infection may be observed, but there is no risk of transmission at this time. Generally dogs are free of the virus by the 7th day post onset of clinical signs, but with this particular strain, H3N2, the virus may shed up to 3 weeks or more after the resolution of clinical signs.
Diagnosis of canine influenza virus is performed by identification of the virus in acutely infected animals or by the presence of CIV antibodies in the late stages of clinical disease. Two tests used to detect CIV are virus isolation and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. PCR testing is recommended for all symptomatic dogs that have had potential exposure to canine influenza virus.
Treatment for canine influenza virus infection is supportive care. Supportive care often includes antibiotic therapy to reduce occurrence of secondary bacterial infection. Biosecurity is a significant component of disease management and treatment. Housing patients with respiratory disease in isolation wards and only using dedicated equipment for that area is critical. The proper use of disinfectants will also be instrumental in the treatment of CIV. Some disinfectants which may be used are quaternary ammonia compounds, 1% bleach, 0.1% dishwashing liquid, povidone-iodine, and other agents which have been shown to destroy the viability of Influenza A virus.
Prevention and biosecurity are significant components to managing CIV. Vaccination against canine influenza virus is available and provided by many veterinary hospitals and clinics. Infection control measures, such as, cleaning and disinfecting cages, bowls, and other fomites is very important. Proper hygiene and washing clothes with detergent at proper washing temperatures also reduces and/or prevents the spread of the virus. Bag any towels separately and mark “Possible CIV” so that they can be disinfected. Bag any newspaper that may have been contaminated with bodily fluids separately and take to the trash immediately.
When announcements of canine influenza virus outbreaks are placed for an area, veterinarians should notify veterinary public health officials and the state veterinary office of any confirmed cases of infection. Quarantine and isolation of infected animals should also be implemented to reduce the spread of the viral infection to other dogs. As a precaution, physicians, veterinarians, and other health officials should report cases of patients having flu-like symptoms. Individuals with a compromised immune system, may be pregnant, are elderly or very young should follow biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of infection.
For more information visit www.agr.georgia.gov
About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit www.agr.georgia.gov.