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Canine Flu......Contagious Dog Flu Virus

This virus started in racing greyhound kennels and on the track circuit. It is spreading and appears to be not only in the USA but also in Canada. Currently, there is no vaccine available. Symptoms may be initially compared to kennel cough.  However, this canine flu is different in that: The dog's WBC (white blood cell count) is very HIGH - this is not true with kennel cough. The dog will progress from a fever to a very high temperature - - often within 12-24 hours.  Low grade fevers are seen in kennel cough. If your dog refuses to eat and develops a cough, see a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.  This disease does respond to supportive treatment and medication in MOST cases, although a fatality rate of 5-10% is also being reported. Tamiflu - - a human anti-viral drug has been used by some veterinarian with great success.  It is not FDA approved for canine flu, fyi. About 20% of the dogs that contract this canine viral infection will not act sick.  However, they are able to pass it on to other dogs, as they will "shed" the virus. This new canine flu is HIGHLY contagious.  It can be passed from dog to dog and humans to dogs.  You can walk through an area when a non-symptomatic dog has been and carry the virus home to your dogs. Until a specific vaccination is developed, we are all at risk for spreading this disease.  Use precautions akin to those for PARVO (see article)
 
If your dog is ill, have it vetted.  Avoid going to shelters, dog parks and other areas where a great number of strange dogs interact.  If you know of a dog that has had this disease, ask the owner to report it to the proper public health authorities in your area and to keep the dog away from other dogs, as it may shed the virus long after it is feeling fine.
 
The above information was compiled by:
Shirley Greene
jeff6542@aol.com on 10-10-05
 
CANINE INFLUENZA (Canine Flu)

A Newly Emerging Viral Infection Of Dogs

Canine Influenza, also called Canine Flu, is a  newly identified disease of dogs.  It can infect any breed of dog and appears in dogs to be similar to Canine Cough (also called Kennel Cough or Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis).  However, early studies of Canine Influenza indicate that the disease has adapted in the dog from a common infection in horses.  It is a highly contagious and sometimes deadly canine flu that is spreading in kennels and at dog tracks around the country.  It has been reported in Greyhounds at tracks in Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Texas.

Currently there seems to be as much hysteria and misinformation about this emerging infection in dogs as hard scientific evidence.  Rumors of hundreds of dogs being affected in kennels across the country are unsubstantiated.  The best source of information about your local area regarding the facts about Canine Influenza will be your local veterinarian and your state's veterinary medical association.  The information presented on this page is meant to be strictly that... an update on recent information

Your veterinarian must be consulted for proper diagnosis, patient evaluation, and individualized therapy for any disease or disorder your dog may have acquired.  There are a multitude of disorders and diseases that will cause a dog to cough and gag and hack.  That's why individual assessment for your dog is imperative to discern the true cause of the dog's difficulties.

How Is It Spread:  According to immunologist Dr. Cynda Crawford who is studying the virus at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, it spreads most easily where numbers of dogs are kept in close proximity but could also be passed "on the street" or in kennels.  It has been reported that kennel workers have carried the virus home with them and infected other dogs.  The fatality rate seems to be between 1 and 10 percent.  Since it is such a new disease of dogs is difficult to forecast about the spread of the disease, severity in individual dogs, and what future numbers of cases may be seen .  Dr. Crawford indicates about 80 percent of dogs that are exposed to the canine influenza virus will develop some signs of illness.  Because the dog population has such little natural immunity to this virus, potentially every dog exposed could be infected.

Dr. Crawford first began investigating greyhound deaths in January 2004 at a racetrack in Jacksonville, Fla., where 8 of the 24 greyhounds who contracted the virus died. "This is a newly emerging pathogen," she said, "and we have very little information to make predictions about it. But I think the fatality rate is between 1 and 10 percent.  Because dogs had no natural immunity to the virus, virtually every animal exposed would be infected. About 80 percent of dogs that are infected with the virus will develop symptoms", Dr. Crawford said. She added that the symptoms were often mistaken for "kennel cough," a common canine illness that is caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Both diseases can cause coughing and gagging for up to three weeks, but dogs with canine flu may spike fevers as high as 106 degrees and have runny noses. A few will develop pneumonia, and some of those cases will be fatal. Antibiotics and fluid cut the pneumonia fatality rate.

The virus is an H3N8 flu which is related to an equine flu strain, however, it is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that killed about 100 people in Asia. ESo far there are no known cases of the canine flu infecting humans. "The risk of that is low, but we are keeping an eye on it," said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of molecular genetics for the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is tracking the illness. But with the approach of the human flu season and fears about bird flu in Asia, there is much confusion among some dog owners who have heard about the disease.  Dr. Crawford said she was fielding calls from kennels and veterinarians across the country worried that they were having outbreaks.

Signs Of Canine Influenza:  The signs in an infected dog are similar to Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterial infection commonly called Kennel Cough, Canine Cough and Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis. Coughing and gagging for up to three weeks is seen in Canine Cough and in the newly emerging canine disease Canine Influenza. Fevers as high as 106° can occur.  Increased signs of cough may be triggered by exercise or excitement.  Nasal discharge may be evident, as well.  The dog may act much quieter than usual or seem depressed and display a disinterest in its environment.

Treatment For Canine Influenza:  Keep in mind that viruses are not usually affected by antibiotics used against bacterial infections.  Antiviral drugs such as amantidine and Tamiflu have been used but are not licensed for use in dogs... the information base on the success of antiviral therapy is still small. Antibiotics for both Gram negative and Gram positive organisms may be needed due to secondary invasion of damaged lung tissues from opportunistic bacteria.  Fluid therapy for debilitated dogs could be required to give support to these patients while their own bodies create defensive immune factors to assist in warding off the infection.  Older dogs and young puppies may be at greatest risk for treatment failure.  X-rays may be needed to evaluate the severity of pneumonia.  In spite of vigorous in-hospital therapy, some dogs simply will not respond and will succumb to the disease.

Tests For Canine Influenza:
Veterinarians can send blood samples to the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, which is the only laboratory doing blood tests on Canine Influenza at this time.  Nasal swabs may be submitted to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation and virus isolation but the sample must be taken very early in the course of the infection... usually within 72 hours after signs develop in the dog.  Any dog that displays a persistent coughing, hacking or gagging should be evaluated by a veterinarian.  Coughing, hacking or gagging are actually non-specific signs and therefore cannot be used to identify any single cause.  Do not assume your dog has Canine Influenza just because it is showing signs of a respiratory disorder.  These signs may be due to a variety of disorders such as tonsillitis, fungal disease such as Blastomycosis, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworms, tumors, infiltrative immune disorders of the bronchial structures, foreign body obstruction and other disorders.  A diagnostic workup may be needed to positively identify the cause of the dog's difficulty.  Ask your veterinarian about vaccinating your dog against the Bordetella organism that is associated with Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough), the common and familiar respiratory disorder affecting unprotected dogs.  Will a vaccine be developed for this new and emerging disease of dogs called Canine Influenza (Canine Flu)?  Scientists are already studying this disease and the chances of immunization being a reality are assured if this infection continues to spread.  Contact your veterinarian for more information.

_____________________________________________________________

ID issues warning - - some good information in this piece:

 
Dog owners warned to be on the lookout for flu in their pets

11:52 AM MDT on Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Adam Atchison
Idaho's NewsChannel 7

BOISE -- A warning to dog owners: there's a new disease and vets warn it is on its way to Idaho.

KTVB

A sometimes-deadly flu in dogs is spreading fast around the U.S. and veterinarians say you should know the signs to keep your pets safe.

The dog flu has affected animals in eight states, including Oregon.

“I think any place where there's a number of animals, you're very concerned about something coming in that's contagious,” said kennel owner Mona Allison.

The staff at Gem Crest Kennels in Boise is keeping a close eye out for the dog flu. Allison says she's had some clients ask about the new fast-spreading virus. But Allison is doing what she can; keeping things clean.

“I think the best thing we can do is what we're already doing, which is being very careful about disinfecting keeping the rugs clean, keeping all the animals in good health, making sure every dog who comes here is vaccinated,” she said.

“This appears to be a virus that's going to be very difficult to prevent and control its spread,” said Jeff Rosenthal, Idaho Humane Society Director.

Rosenthal says dog owners should be aware of the symptoms: coughing, gagging, high fever and sometimes pneumonia. According to veterinarians, the respiratory disease first showed up last year, jumping from horses to dogs. Rosenthal says there's no vaccine right now.

“Realize that the majority of dogs are going to survive this. Most effects will be mild and there is some treatment for this. This has been shown to be susceptible to anti-viral drugs,” he said.

Researchers report that between one and ten percent of dogs which contract the disease, will die from it. The Humane Society is monitoring its pets for the virus and Rosenthal it's also important for dog owners to be alert.

“Not to panic, but to be aware,” he said. “If their dog develops any of these symptoms, they need to call their veterinarian.”

Vets say the disease can be spread by dogs in kennels, dog runs or by handlers.

Rosenthal says 80 percent of infected dogs will show signs of sickness, 20 percent will not, but they can still spread the virus. Right now, researchers at the Cornell University Animal Clinic say there has been no evidence of the virus showing up in humans.

 

And last: Tamiflu

TAMIFLU
 One of the drugs making a lot of news in the veterinary therapeutic arena 
right now is TamiFlu (oseltamivir phosphate).  This drug, developed by  Roche, is used to treat human influenza. In April this year, Dr. Jack Broadhurst published his findings on  Veterinary Information Network (VIN), on his use of  Tamiflu in the treatment of Parvo in shelter puppies. Because of a limited budget, the shelter was unable to use expensive IV fluids and hospitalization.  It was  one visit to a veterinarian,SQ fluids and antibiotics and back to the  shelter on oral electrolytes and antibiotics.  The mortality rate was 75%.  When Dr. Broadhurst added Tamiflu orally at 1mg/lb, twice a day; they went  from 75% mortality to 100% survival (5).  When the powder is  reconstituted, you have a suspension of 25ml at 12mg/cc.  The amount that  is given to a small puppy, the most common patient, is 0.4 ml for a 10 lb puppy.  This amount is so small it usually does not trigger vomiting if  given slowly (5). No, there have been no collaborated controlled studies and the purest will  question whether the Tamiflu is making any difference.  After five months  the success rate is in excess of  95%.  Try it.  You be the judge. I have had some experience with Tamiflu with another disease, which in  South Florida, is causing a lot of very sick dogs.  The disease is Kennel Cough.  I had my bottle of Tamiflu on the shelf in my pharmacy, waiting  for the first Parvo case to try it. Before I had the opportunity, I was  presented with another situation.  One of the greyhound trainers, who I trust, came to me for Doxycline for use in an outbreak of Kennel Cough.  I  seized the opportunity, as I felt I had nothing to loose but the $35.00  for the cost of the bottle of Tamiflu.  I asked her to take her 3 worse dogs and give them Tamiflu at 1mg/kg, twice a day, half the dose used in  Parvo.  I gave her the medication on Thursday.  She started treatment on  Friday.  On Monday, 4 days after, she was back.  The 3 dogs, by Sunday  night, had stopped coughing and were doing great.  The other dogs showed  little or no improvement.  She wanted enough for all the dogs.  We ordered  it and had it the next day.  She treated 140 dogs and the outbreak was  shortened by 2-3 weeks.  Her dogs were back to training, running and  winning, some in a matter of days, some within 10 days of the contraction  of the disease.  Before Tamiflu, it would take 2-3 weeks.Two other greyhound kennels in Alabama and Kansas have had success with  the use of Tamiflu in curtailing the outbreak of Kennel Cough. (A total of  282 dogs)  Here again, the purest will say that kennel cough manifests itself in various ways and with variation in severity and convalescence.  I know this fact only too well, but when you get a clinical response with  the use of a product, when the only variable is that product, then I will use that product as long as it does no harm. Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is a neuraminidase inhibitor.  What is  neuraminidase??> It is a protein found on the surface membrane of many viruses and  bacteria.  Its presence enables the virus to break from the host cell to  infect other cells and is required for the virus to pass through mucous to  reach non-infected cells.  Neuraminidase is also required for a pathogenic  bacteria to colonize (5). In the case of Bordetella bronchoseptica organisms, the major component of Kennel Cough, it has neuraminidase receptors on their cell membranes that  enable them to colonize on respiratory epithelial cells.  Neuraminidase  inhibitors, like Tamiflu, will prevent colonization in the trachea and  bronchi. There are 6 possible mechanisms that a neuraminidase inhibitors, such as  Tamiflu, may work. Inhibition of viral particles release from infected cells Reduce the ease with which the virus can move to infect adjacent cells. Reduce bacteria colonization Reduce the migration of white blood cells, macrophages, from the blood to  the infected tissue to create cellular injury Reduce the number of T-Lymphocytes from migrating to the infected tissue  creating cellular injury. Reduce the role of any bacterial toxins on muscles, blood vessels, lymph  nodes, liver, spleen, kidney and trachea (5).
The success of Tamiflu depends on the neuraminidase factor.  This drug is  like using a laser as opposed to most antibiotics, which are like a shot  gun. A word of caution.  Tamiflu does not work on the Distemper virus or other forms of gastroenteritis.

Scientist Recommends Isolation for Animals Showing Signs of Canine Flu


By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

Published: September 27, 2005

With a new, highly contagious canine flu spreading, dogs that are coughing should be kept at home for up to two weeks, a scientist who first described the illness said yesterday.

The scientist, Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and an author of a report on the canine influenza being released today by the journal Science, spoke at a news conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The C.D.C., which is tracking the disease, issued no official recommendations. But Dr. Crawford urged pet owners to continue to walk healthy dogs, visit dog runs, use boarding kennels and otherwise let animals congregate.

But, Dr. Crawford added, owners should ''use common sense,'' including isolating dogs with any symptoms of respiratory disease for up to two weeks and alerting a veterinarian's office before taking in a sick dog for treatment.

Dr. Crawford, who was joined at the news conference by scientists at the C.D.C. and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine who are studying the virus, said the flu seemed to kill 5 to 8 percent of the dogs it infected.

But she emphasized that scientists did not ''have all the answers'' on fatality rates because the influenza strain was new and because it was hard to get accurate information about dog deaths.

Last week, Dr. Crawford estimated the fatality rate at 1 to 10 percent.

In the first outbreak she studied, at a greyhound track last year in Jacksonville, Fla., the flu killed about a third of the dogs with symptoms. But she said basing estimates on a single outbreak left ''a false impression.''

The flu initially mimics ''kennel cough,'' a common disease usually caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacterium related to the one that causes whooping cough in children. About 80 percent of infected dogs develop a cough, nasal discharge and possibly a fever; a smaller number go on to develop pneumonia.

The 20 percent of dogs with no symptoms are presumed to be contagious, Dr. Crawford said.

Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of molecular genetics for the influenza branch of the disease control agency, said the flu had jumped from horses to dogs, ''a very rare event of considerable scientific interest.''

But, Dr. Donis said, ''at this point, there is no reason to panic.''

Although there has been speculation that the influenza could now jump to humans because dogs live more intimately with them than horses do, the H3N8 strain has been found in horses for over 40 years without ever causing a documented human case, he said.

A vaccine for the canine flu is under development, he said; a vaccine for the equine version already exists.

It is unclear how widespread the disease is in pets around the country. The first outbreaks in kennels not connected to greyhound tracks were found in April, and cases among pets have been confirmed only in Florida, New York and Massachusetts.

Dr. Edward J. Dubovi, chief virologist in Cornell's diagnostic laboratory in Ithaca, said he was testing samples from veterinarians in many states.

New Deadly, Contagious Dog Flu Virus Is Detected in 7 States

____________________________________________________________

CDC Briefing on K9 flu:


There's an excellent briefing, conducted  by the CDC, Cornell University, School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Florida on the new Canine Flu outbreak.  The article is long and detailed, but worth reading for those who want the latest in scientific information.  The address link is:

http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/transcripts/t050926.htm

 

Or, you may listen to a National Public Radio Program on Canine Flu:

Click here: NPR : Influenza Virus Jumps to Dogs

 

____________________________________________________________

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. and CARIN RUBENSTEIN

Published: September 22, 2005

A new, highly contagious and sometimes deadly canine flu is spreading in kennels and at dog tracks around the country, veterinarians said yesterday.

The virus, which scientists say mutated from an influenza strain that affects horses, has killed racing greyhounds in seven states and has been found in shelters and pet shops in many places, including the New York suburbs, though the extent of its spread is unknown.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine who is studying the virus, said that it spread most easily where dogs were housed together but that it could also be passed on the street, in dog runs or even by a human transferring it from one dog to another. Kennel workers have carried the virus home with them, she said.

How many dogs die from the virus is unclear, but scientists said the fatality rate is more than 1 percent and could be as high as 10 percent among puppies and older dogs.

Dr. Crawford first began investigating greyhound deaths in January 2004 at a racetrack in Jacksonville, Fla., where 8 of the 24 greyhounds who contracted the virus died.

"This is a newly emerging pathogen," she said, "and we have very little information to make predictions about it. But I think the fatality rate is between 1 and 10 percent."

She added that because dogs had no natural immunity to the virus, virtually every animal exposed would be infected. About 80 percent of dogs that are infected with the virus will develop symptoms, Dr. Crawford said. She added that the symptoms were often mistaken for "kennel cough," a common canine illness that is caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.

Both diseases can cause coughing and gagging for up to three weeks, but dogs with canine flu may spike fevers as high as 106 degrees and have runny noses. A few will develop pneumonia, and some of those cases will be fatal. Antibiotics and fluid cut the pneumonia fatality rate, Dr. Crawford said.

The virus is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.

Experts said there were no known cases of the canine flu infecting humans. "The risk of that is low, but we are keeping an eye on it," said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of molecular genetics for the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is tracking the illness.

But with the approach of the human flu season and fears about bird flu in Asia, there is much confusion among some dog owners who have heard about the disease.

Dr. Crawford said she was fielding calls from kennels and veterinarians across the country worried that they were having outbreaks.

"The hysteria out there is unbelievable, and the misinformation is incredible," said Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus, chief of medicine at the Animal Medical Center in New York.

Dr. Hohenhaus said she had heard of an alert from a Virginia dog club reporting rumors that 10,000 show dogs had died.

"We don't believe that's true," she said, adding that no dogs in her Manhattan hospital even had coughs.

Dr. Donis of the disease control centers said that there was currently no vaccine for the canine flu. But he said one would be relatively easy to develop. The canine flu is less lethal than parvovirus, which typically kills puppies but can be prevented by routine vaccination.

Laboratory tests, Dr. Donis said, have shown that the new flu is susceptible to the two most common antiviral drugs, amantidine and Tamiflu, but those drugs are not licensed for use in dogs.

The flu has killed greyhounds at tracks in Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa. Tracks and kennels have been forced to shut down for weeks for disinfection.

In Chestnut Ridge, north of New York City, about 88 dogs became sick by early September, and 15 percent of those required hospitalization, said Debra Bennetts, a spokeswoman for Best Friends Pet Care, a chain of boarding kennels. The kennel was vacated for decontamination by Sept. 17.

About 17 of the infected dogs were treated at the Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J., where one died and two more were still hospitalized, a staff veterinarian said.

The Best Friends chain owns 41 other kennels in 18 states, and no others have had an outbreak, Dr. Larry J. Nieman, the company's veterinarian, said.

In late July, at Gracelane Kennels in Ossining, N.Y., about 35 dogs showed symptoms, said the owner, Bob Gatti, and he closed the kennel for three weeks to disinfect.

About 25 of the dogs were treated by an Ossining veterinarian, Glenn M. Zeitz, who said two of them had died.

"The dogs came in very sick, with high fevers and very high white blood cell counts," Dr. Zeitz said, making him suspicious that they had something worse than kennel cough.

A spokesman for the New York City Health Department said that there were "a few confirmed cases" in New York but that the city was not yet tracking the disease.

Veterinarians voluntarily sent samples to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, which was the only laboratory doing blood tests.

 Another source, Urban Legends, had this to say:
The New Canine Influenza, Greyhound Disease, Race Flu, Equine Influenza, Avian Flu

The New Canine Flu, which has killed so many greyhounds is now in the domestic dog population. There is no treatment and no vaccine. It has jumped species, (by feeding greyhounds raw horse meat, which was infected with horse influenza), (horse influenza is avian flu, which jumped species from birds (avian flu), to horses (horse influenza). The avian flu has now moved to racing greyhounds and domestic dogs and the indications are that there may be a potential problem for humans. It is deadly and it is on the loose. It may just be a matter of time. The CDC is watching the disease.

There is no central tracking agency with report and stat capability for dogs that will get the word out to all vets in the US.

http://www.recombinomics.com/News/05130505/H3N8_Domestic_Dogs_United_States.html

The domestic dog population is at present risk.

This week on my net groups I saw many anecdotal accounts of $100,000 show dogs dying while packed in ice and hooked up to IVs, with high temps. No one knows what is wrong with these dogs and the vets do not know what they are treating. I think it is Greyhound Influenza or Race Flu.

Show populations are now infected and the majority of veterinarians have never heard of the disease. Isolated individuals know this but the country as a whole does not. A few days after exposure at dog shows, dogs are traveling back to their home states and infecting the local populations. Many dogs are dying needlessly. It is not kennel cough.

The period of incubation is 2-5 days. It is airborne, can be transmitted by inanimate objects, and clothing. Virtually all exposed will contract. The morbidity is 80% with 20% being sub clinically affected and shedding the virus. The course of the disease is four weeks. There are two forms, milder and very extreme. Two weeks into the viral disease the dog looks like he is getting over the cough and then bacterial infections become an acute problem. Oft times the owner has reported the dog is well, only to find that a short time later an acute bacterial infection has taken over the dog, in a matter of hours. The owners think the disease has run its course only to learn it hasn't gotten started yet, so dogs are dying needlessly.

My vet thinks earlier rather than later treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics are the best way to treat the disease. With proper vet care perhaps there will only be a mortality of 1-5%.

The information needs to go out so that all vets will know this is not kennel cough, so they will not VAX for kennel cough while ill, and so they can monitor beyond the two week period.

It has been almost impossible for me to understand how in the last four days i have contacted state vets who have never heard of the new influenza, all the while, the people with the info on the disease, refuse to release it nationally.

The AVMA has info that will go out next month. How many will die prior to that? I have begged and cajoled them to do this, so perhaps we are making some headway, however, we need info to go out ASAP.

APHIS says it is not their job.

The people who are handling research on the initial outbreak in FLA., are contacting local, (FLA) BUT not national sources to disseminate information.

Below is a link to a photo album in which i placed the FLA Veterinary Alert and Advisory, which was put out by the FLA VET MED ASSOC., at the request of the State Vet. It is not on the state website.

http://photobucket.com/albums/y249/citycolumbus/

In my conversations with the researchers at the U. of FLA. I was told, by the lead researcher, who owns greyhounds, that they have no responsibility to provide this info to other states or to other vets. (BTW, Is some of the research funded by the gaming organizations?) (My state, GA., the state of FLA., and three highly placed individuals at Pfizer, told me to call the researcher.) The researcher said to me that cultures do not need to be done on potential affecteds, and she denied that the illness is from horses, though she is quoted in articles as applauding the Cornell researcher who identified it as horse influenza. The FLA state vet said: "We know it came from horses."

The researcher is working to do a contracted vaccine with " a company." She is working on a paper. She did not want to discuss the influenza though her name, email and number appears as the contact source on the state of FLA Veterinary Alert and Advisory that went out to all FLA vets. I was told by some at Pfizer that Pfizer is not the company who is helping her develop the vaccine.

The researcher said the FLA VETERINARY ALERT AND ADVISORY should not be put on the net. However the FLA state Vet, Dr. Thomas Holt, told me, on Fri., Sept 16, 2005 to put it on the net..."Feel free to use it."

Many state vets who do not know anything at all about this illness even though the state of FLA. put out memos on the influenza in August 05 in the state of FLA., without notifying other states.

If the researchers are correct there will be a national epidemic. When a disease is in a mobile population an epidemic is possible. Large groupings of dogs, such as shows, kennels, rescues, etc., are at risk.

Most vets across the country have never heard of the disease. A treatment protocol has not been developed. They are treating it as if it is kennel cough. All vets need to be informed about it ASAP! Many of us concerned dog people would like to see state statistics compiled on the illness and the eventual treatment outcomes.

Folks, this is one of the many new problems we are seeing from feeding raw meat to dogs. Please do not do it.

Origins:   In 2004, a virulent form of canine influenza surfaced at greyhound racing parks in Florida. In that outbreak, it infected 24 greyhounds and killed 8 more. The contagion has since been confirmed in seven states, having killed greyhounds at tracks in Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa. It is highly contagious, with the uninfected picking it up from the infected via shared items or human contact (kennel workers have carried the virus home with them), in addition to dog-to-dog encounters.

The virus that has been felling greyhounds is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.

Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of molecular genetics for the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirms the flu jumped from horses to dogs, "a very rare event of considerable scientific interest" and adds "at this point, there is no reason to panic." How that jump occurred is either not known at this point or is not being commented on, so the e-mail's assertion that the eating of raw meat was to blame should be regarded as speculation rather than as fact. While there is always the possibility the virus might again jump species, this time to humans, this strain of flu has been present in horses for more than 40 years yet there are no documented cases of humans catching it or the related canine flu. A vaccine for the equine flu already exists, and a vaccine for the canine version is under development.

Many readers have been confused (and unnecessarily frightened) by the difference between the terms "morbidity rate" and "mortality rate." The morbidity rate describes the percentage of animals that will contract the disease after being exposed to the virus, but despite its name the term has nothing to do with the death rate associated with the flu. (Nearly 80 percent of dogs exposed to the canine flu virus will contract only a mild form of the disease which mimics kennel cough, a type of canine bronchitis that is rarely serious.) The mortality rate, which describes the percentage of animals that will die after contracting the disease, is in the much lower range of 5 to 8 percent, according to Dr. Cynda Crawford, the veterinary immunologist who first isolated the canine flu virus:


Dr. Crawford describes the contagion as producing in dogs "a moist, productive cough that ends in a gagging response, that will persist for one to four weeks, despite treatment with antibiotics or cough suppressants. Some dogs develop a thick, yellow discharge from the nose. A very few dogs will spike a high fever, between 105 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. They become lethargic and weak, with rapid, shallow breathing. This is likely to progress to pneumonia." Other veterinary experts have estimated the potential death rate as between 1 and 10 percent, with the higher percentage applying to very young, very old, or infirm dogs.

Presence of the virus in dogs can be confirmed only through blood tests performed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Results of such blood screens take as long as two weeks.

Dr. Crawford recommends keeping dogs showing symptoms of respiratory disease at home and away from other dogs for up to two weeks. The CDC, which is tracking the disease, issued no official recommendations.

Because the symptoms of this as yet unnamed virus somewhat mimic bordetella, a less virulent illness commonly known as kennel cough, it is hard to ascertain how widespread the flu has become. On the flipside of that confusion, vets in various parts of the country have been thrown into a panic when encountering run-of-the-mill kennel cough in any of their clients, fearing they are instead confronting cases of the new flu.

The Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University inserted a caution against such hair trigger diagnosis within a larger advisory about the potential for the flu to have spread to the state of New York: "One should not lose sight of the fact that all respiratory infections in dogs are not due to canine influenza virus. Adhering to the 'band wagon' approach could result in the failure to appropriately treat dogs with infections previously known to cause respiratory problems in dogs."

We found this good advice for vets and dog owners in our inbox one day:
PLEASE DO NOT PANIC, and do NOT assume that every cough is Canine Influenza. Kennel Cough from parainfluenza and Bordetella is more common. However, the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell is interested in receiving samples from dogs that appear to have kennel cough.

Clinical Signs: Since this is a new pathogen in dogs, there is currently no natural immunity present in the unexposed canine population. Almost all exposed dogs will become infected, and nearly 80% have clinical signs. In the mild form the dogs will have a cough that persists for 10 to 21 days. The cough may be soft and moist or dry. Many dogs will have a nasal discharge from a secondary bacterial infection and low grade fever. The nasal discharge responds to broad spectrum antibiotics.

In the severe form with pneumonia there is a high fever (104-106 F) and respiratory difficulties. X-rays may show consolidation. These dogs often have secondary bacterial infections and have responded to broad-spectrum antibiotics and supportive care including intravenous hydration.

The incubation period is two to five days and dogs may shed virus for seven to 10 days. The disease can spread rapidly throughout a boarding kennel. Dogs that are coughing SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT TO SHOWS or Performance EVENTS.

Additional information: 
    http://doacs.state.fl.us/press/2005/09202005.htmlBronson Alerts Public to Newly Emerging Canine Flu
(Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services)
Last updated:   27 September 2005

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/dogflu.asp
____________________________________________________________________

The mortality rate is around 5 to 8 percent, says veterinarian Cynda Crawford at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.

"I want to stress that despite the rumors that are out on the Internet and other such sources, this disease is not as deadly as people want to make it," Crawford said. She says she receives more than 30 calls a day from concerned veterinarians.
UPDATE: 10 October 2005

What States/areas have high outbreaks of canine flu?

Currently reports of outbreaks have been scientifically confirmed in:

Nevada                             Florida                            Massachusetts

Oregon                             New York                       Texas – Dallas area worse   

Washington                      New Jersey                    Arkansas

Arizona                             Ohio                                 Iowa

Colorado                          North Carolina                Rhode Island

Kansas                             West Virginia                  Maryland

Connecticut                      Calfornia                        Utah

Georgia                            Wash. D.C.                      Pennsylvania

Control of Canine Influenza in Dogs —
Questions, Answers, and Interim Guidelines
October 17, 2005

The following document has been developed via consultation among the American Veterinary Medical Association, the University of Florida, Cornell University, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is advisory in nature. It is intended to answer common questions and to provide guidance on managing affected dogs and for persons working with or handling affected dogs. This document reflects what is known as of October 17, 2005, and may be updated as more information becomes available.

What is canine influenza?
Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs that is caused by a virus. The canine influenza virus is closely related to the virus that causes equine influenza and it is thought that the equine influenza virus mutated to produce the canine influenza virus.

Two clinical syndromes have been seen in dogs infected with the canine influenza virus—a mild form of the disease and a more severe form that is accompanied by pneumonia.

  • About the mild form—Dogs suffering with the mild form of canine influenza develop a soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days. Some dogs have a dry cough similar to the "kennel cough" caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica/parainfluenza virus complex. For this reason, canine influenza virus infections are frequently mistaken for "kennel cough." Dogs with the mild form of influenza may also have a thick nasal discharge, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection.

  • About the severe form—Dogs with the severe form of canine influenza develop high fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort. Pneumonia may be due to a secondary bacterial infection.

Because this is a newly emerging disease, almost all dogs, regardless of breed or age, are susceptible to infection and have no immunity. Virtually all dogs that are exposed to the virus become infected and nearly 80% show clinical signs of disease. Fortunately, most affected dogs have the mild form.

Do dogs die from canine influenza?
Fatal cases of pneumonia resulting from infection with canine influenza virus have been reported in dogs, but the fatality rate (5% to 8%) has been low so far.

How widespread is the disease?
The first recognized outbreak of canine influenza in the world is believed to have occurred in racing greyhounds in January 2004 at a track in Florida. From June to August of 2004, outbreaks of respiratory disease were reported at 14 tracks in 6 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia). Between January and May of 2005, outbreaks occurred at 20 tracks in 11 states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Infection has also been confirmed in pet dogs in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington State, and Washington, DC. These cases occurred in animal shelters, humane societies, rescue groups, pet stores, boarding kennels, and veterinary clinics.

How is a dog with canine influenza treated?
As with any disease caused by a virus, treatment is largely supportive. Good animal care practices and nutrition assist dogs in mounting an effective immune response. In the milder form of the disease, a thick green nasal discharge, which most likely represents a secondary bacterial infection, usually resolves quickly after treatment with a broad-spectrum bactericidal antimicrobial. In the more severe form of the disease, pneumonia is thought to often be caused by bacterial superinfection, and responds best to hydration (sometimes via intravenous administration of fluids) and a broad-spectrum bactericidal antimicrobial.

Is canine influenza virus transmissible from dogs to humans?
To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza virus from dogs to people.

Do I need to be concerned about putting my dog in day care or boarding it at a kennel?
Dog owners should be aware that any situation that brings dogs together increases the risk of spread of communicable illnesses. Good infection control practices can reduce that risk, so dog owners involved in shows, sports, or other activities with their dogs or who board their dogs at kennels should ask whether respiratory disease has been a problem there, and whether the facility has a plan for isolating dogs that develop respiratory disease and for notifying owners if their dogs have been exposed to dogs with respiratory disease.

As long as good infection control practices are in place, pet owners should not be overly concerned about putting dogs in training facilities, dog parks, kennels, or other areas frequented by dogs.

My dog has a cough...what should I do?
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that he or she can examine and evaluate your dog and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. If canine influenza is suspected, treatment will usually focus on maximizing the ability of your dog's immune system to combat the virus. A typical approach might include administration of fluids if your dog is becoming dehydrated and prescribing an antimicrobial if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Canine influenza virus can be spread via direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, and by contact with contaminated inanimate objects. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or exhibiting other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to them. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease to prevent transmission of infection to susceptible dogs. Clothing can be adequately cleaned by using a detergent at normal laundry temperatures.

I manage a kennel/veterinary clinic/animal shelter/dog day care center. How do I keep canine influenza out of my facility, and if it does enter my facility, what should I do?
Viral disease is usually best prevented through vaccination. Unfortunately, at this time no vaccine is available to protect dogs against canine influenza. Vaccination against other pathogens causing respiratory disease, however, may help prevent more common respiratory pathogens from becoming secondary infections in a respiratory tract already compromised by influenza infection. In addition, knowing that dogs are vaccinated against these pathogens may help facility managers distinguish canine influenza from other respiratory diseases. For these reasons, a veterinarian should determine which vaccinations are needed based on related risks and benefits and should administer these at least 2 weeks prior to planned visits to dog activity and care facilities (e.g., kennels, veterinary clinics, dog day care centers, training facilities, dog parks). Dogs admitted to shelters should be vaccinated on admission.

Routine infection control precautions are key to preventing spread of viral disease within facilities. The canine influenza virus appears to be easily killed by disinfectants (e.g., quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach solutions at a 1 to 30 dilution) in common use in veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and animal shelters. Protocols should be established for thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting cages, bowls, and other surfaces between uses. Employees should wash their hands with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are unavailable) before and after handling each dog; after coming into contact with a dog's saliva, urine, feces, or blood; after cleaning cages; and upon arriving at and before leaving the facility (see "I work in a kennel/animal care facility. What should I do to prevent transmission of influenza virus from infected dogs to susceptible dogs?").

Animal care facility staff should be alerted to the possibility that a dog with a respiratory infection could be presented for care or boarding. If a dog with respiratory signs is presented, staff members should inquire whether the dog has recently been boarded or adopted from a shelter, has recently participated in dog-related group activities, or whether it has been exposed to other dogs known to have canine influenza or kennel cough. The dog should be brought directly into a separate examination/triage area that is reserved for dogs with respiratory signs and should not be allowed to enter the waiting room or other areas where susceptible dogs may be present.

Dogs with suspected canine influenza virus infection that is discovered after entry into the facility should be evaluated and treated by a veterinarian. Isolation protocols should be rigorously applied for dogs showing signs of respiratory disease, including the wearing of disposable gloves by persons handling infected dogs or cleaning contaminated cages. Respiratory disease beyond what is considered typical for a particular facility should be investigated, and the investigation should include submission of appropriate diagnostic samples (see "What diagnostic tests will tell me whether a dog has canine influenza?").

What diagnostic tests will tell me whether a dog has canine influenza? What samples do I send? Where do I send the samples? How do I distinguish between canine influenza and kennel cough?
There is no rapid test for diagnosis of acute canine influenza virus infection. Diagnosis may be confirmed through serologic testing. Antibodies to canine influenza virus may be detected as early as seven days after onset of clinical signs. Convalescent-phase samples should be collected at least two weeks after collection of the acute-phase sample. If an acute-phase sample is not available, testing a convalescent-phase sample can reveal whether a dog has been infected at some point in the past.

Other diagnostic options applicable to dogs that have died from pneumonia are viral culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, using fresh (not formalin-preserved or frozen) lung and tracheal tissues. Virus detection in respiratory secretion specimens from acutely ill animals using these methods is possible but generally unrewarding. The Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center is currently accepting samples for analysis. For detailed information on sample submission, visit www.diaglab.vet.cornell.edu/issues/civ.asp.

I work in a kennel/animal care facility. What should I do to prevent transmission of influenza virus from infected dogs to susceptible dogs?
Canine influenza is not known to be transmissible from dogs to people. However, caretakers can inadvertently transmit canine influenza virus from infected dogs to susceptible dogs by not following good hygiene and infection control practices. To prevent spread of canine influenza virus, caretakers should take the following precautions:

  • Wash hands with soap and water (if soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner)

    1. Before and after handling each animal

    2. After coming into contact with animal saliva, urine, feces or blood

    3. After cleaning cages

    4. Before eating meals, taking breaks, smoking or leaving the facility

    5. Before and after using the restroom

  • Wear a barrier gown over your clothes and wear gloves when handling sick animals or cleaning cages. Discard gown and gloves before working with other animals

  • Consider use of goggles or face protection if splashes from contaminated surfaces may occur

  • Bring a change of clothes to wear home at the end of the day

  • Thoroughly clean clothes worn at the animal facility - using bleach.

  • Do not allow animals to "kiss" you or lick your face

  • Do not eat in the animal care area

  • Separate newly arriving animals from animals that have been housed one week or longer.

  • Routinely monitor animals for signs of illness. Separate sick animals from healthy animals, especially animals with signs of respiratory disease.

  • There is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza virus from dogs to people. However, because of concerns about diseases that are transmissible from dogs to people, in general, it may be prudent for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons to limit or avoid contact with animals that are ill.

Is canine influenza transmissible to from dogs to horses or other animal species?
At this time, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza from dogs to horses, cats, ferrets, or other animal species. However, the infection control measures outlined in the section titled "I work in a kennel/animal care facility. What should I do to prevent transmission of influenza virus from infected dogs to susceptible dogs?" are recommended to prevent spread of the virus.

For additional information and updates, please visit these websites:

American Veterinary Medical Association - www.avma.org
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine - www.vetmed.ufl.edu/pr
Cornell University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory - www.diaglab.vet.cornellvetmed.ufl.edu/news.asppr
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - www.cdc.gov/healthypets

Association of Shelter Veterinarians - www.sheltervet.org

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