More cases of H3N2 canine influenza have been identified in the province since the virus was re-introduction to central Ontario in the last week. That’s not surprising, since the start of any outbreak investigation is dedicated to figuring out the extent of the problem. Cases identified in the first few days or week reflect things that happened before we knew anything was going on. It’s what happens after the first week or so that’s most important. Ideally, once we know something is happening and start to intervene, new cases decrease and those that are found are found because we’ve traced them from other infected dogs. When new cases occur out of nowhere, we get concerned that we don’t truly know the extent of the issue.
So, at this point, we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for more testing and watching for more cases.
A few key points for everyone to keep in mind:
- If you live in the affected area (Muskoka region) or visit there with your dog, be on the lookout for respiratory disease (e.g. cough, runny nose, runny eye) in your canine companion. If your dog develops signs that could be influenza, call your veterinarian first – don’t just show up at the clinic. If your dog needs to be examined, your vet will want to take precautions to make sure your dog doesn’t infect other dogs at the clinic.
- Most dogs with flu develop fairly mild disease that resolves on its own. Some develop complications (e.g. pneumonia) that require treatment such as antibiotics. Rarely, flu can be fatal. Regardless, it’s highly transmissible and can spread quickly in the dog population
- If you have imported a dog from Asia (or have adopted a dog that was imported in the past month), keep it isolated from other dogs for at least 28 days after arrival. If your dog has been in contact with an Asian import, keep it away from other dogs for 28 days.