Canine influenza continues to cause problems in Ontario. The central Ontario (Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Orillia) clusters continue to be monitored, with new positives that were expected based on known contact with infected dogs. Whether these clusters have been contained (or are containable) remains to be seen. Testing and contact tracing continues.

As mentioned previously, there was concern about potential exposure in the Grimsby area, because of movement of imported rescue dogs linked to the central Ontario outbreak. These concerns have been realized as canine influenza has been diagnosed in that area. Tracing and testing are underway to determine the scope of the problem and to assist with containment.

Currently, the epidemiology of these outbreaks is quite straightforward (and very interesting) as we have clear transmission pathways linking all of the known cases. However, testing of dogs with respiratory disease in other areas is ongoing to determine whether this is still restricted to the known areas or whether it has spread further. That will be important information over the next week, as if this virus is present in more regions and not as closely linked to the index cases, it would support the concern that it is establishing itself in the Ontario dog population.

The same general messages apply:

  • If your dog is sick (depressed, cough, runny eyes, runny nose, decreased appetite), keep it at home and away from other dogs.
  • If you see a sick dog, keep your dog away from it.
  • If your dog develops signs suggestive of canine influenza, contact your vet, but don’t just show up on the clinic doorstep. Many affected dogs don’t need veterinary care and for those that do, the visit should be arranged such that the dog doesn’t encounter other dogs.
  • Vaccination is recommended in the areas where canine influenza is present, as well as adjacent areas, to help reduce the spread. An H3N2 canine influenza vaccine is available in Canada and efforts are underway to try to ensure that an adequate vaccine supply is present. Vaccination requires two doses, 2-4 weeks apart. Vaccination is particularly important in certain groups, as I’ve discussed in a previous post (below).

Canine influenza in Canada: New cluster