Canine influenza diagnosed in two Texas dogs
A recent outbreak of canine influenza virus (CIV) in Florida and Georgia has found its way to Texas.
In early June, the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) diagnosed positive cases of CIV in two dogs within the state. Characterization to determine the strain's relationship to the outbreak in Florida and Georgia is pending.
Classical symptoms associated with canine influenza are high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. Most infected dogs display a mild form with the most common clinical sign being a persistent cough lasting 10-21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants.
Virtually all dogs exposed become infected with the virus, but only 80% develop clinical signs. The approximately 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs can still shed the virus and spread the infection. Virus is spread from dog to dog, but droplets also contaminate food bowls and other surfaces increasing the risk for infection.
Vaccines are available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. In areas where the virus is active, animals should avoid places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, grooming salons, kennels and daycares. There is no evidence to date that canine strains of influenza can be transmitted to humans.
Incubation of the virus is typically 2-5 days from exposure to the onset of clinical signs. Samples collected as early in the disease process as possible are best for virus detection. Nasal and/or nasopharyngeal swabs should be collected within the first four days of illness and tested for the presence of the virus by molecular methods (PCR). Swabs should be submitted in viral transport media or a sterile container such as a red-top tube either dry or with a drop of saline and shipped overnight with a cold pack. Bacterial culture swabs (i.e. culturette) are not recommended due to inhibitors in the media.
TVMDL offers a broad target Influenza A matrix polymerase chain reaction assay (qPCR), which can detect both H3N2 and H3N8 strains.
TEST: Influenza A Matrix (IAV) (qPCR)
SPECIMEN: One or more of the following: respiratory swabs (tracheal), 1.0g fresh tissue (trachea,
lung), 1-2mL tracheal wash.
TURNAROUND TIME: Performed in the Amarillo lab Monday through Friday and the College Station lab Tuesday-Friday, with results in 1-4 days.
TVMDL also offers a Canine Respiratory Disease Panel qPCR, which, in addition to detecting Influenza, also detects Canine Adenovirus 2, Canine Coronavirus, Canine Herpesvirus 1, Canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Distemper, and Bordetella bronchiseptica.