As expected, a few more cases have been identified in the most recent cluster of canine influenza virus (CIV) identified in Ontario. So far, there are about 20 confirmed or suspected cases. To date, we’re still only finding cases that have a link to another infected dog or facility. That’s good news. If we start getting cases of unknown origin and/or cases outside the currently affected area, I’ll be more concerned (specifically about the prospects of containing the cluster). A couple of dogs that were potentially exposed and left the area already are being tracked.

Continued diligence by pet owners and veterinarians will help contain this virus. The key is finding all the potentially infected (and infectious) dogs, testing them and keeping them quarantined until they’re no longer a risk to others.

A 28 day quarantine is recommended because of the potentially long shedding period of this virus. In the previous outbreak (as in this one), we sampled positive dogs repeatedly, and some shed the virus for over 3 weeks. So, even a 28 day quarantine doesn’t leave a lot of cushion, but the longer the quarantine period, the greater the risk of non-compliance. Getting people to keep their dogs away from other dogs for 28 days often isn’t easy to do. We like to complain about the weather in Canada, but it will probably help in this situation. It’s forecast to be few degrees above freezing with mixed precipitation over the next few days, something that may help keep dogs from congregating outdoors, buying more time to sort out the problem.

More details to follow.