The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill on Wednesday added canine influenza to the 2015 Reportable Disease list in Michigan meaning veterinarians and diagnostic labs across the state must notify the department if they suspect or have a positive test.
“Canine influenza poses a serious health risk to dogs, especially in animal shelter settings. MDARD is working with Michigan veterinarians to provide the most up to date information to pet owners and shelter operators,” said Averill. “By adding canine influenza to the state’s reportable disease list, it provides a much clearer and more accurate picture of where the virus is in Michigan aiding us in our prevention and response efforts.”
Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs and has not been found to cause human illness. There are currently two types of canine influenza, H3N8 and H3N2, found in the U.S. both of which have been added to the state’s reportable disease list.
“In Michigan, three dogs, (two from Kent County and one from Macomb County), tested positive for canine influenza. MDARD received courtesy notifications of the positive samples because it was not a reportable disease. This hamstrung our efforts to track the disease and the potential risk to Michigan’s canine population,” added Averill.
Signs of canine influenza can include fever, lethargy, coughing and nasal and/or eye discharge. Most dogs are susceptible to canine influenza; however, most affected dogs recover from illness within two to three weeks. There is a vaccine available to help provide immunity against H3N8 canine influenza, but there is no vaccine available to protect against H3N2 strain. Dog owners should consult their veterinarian about options for vaccination.
“If you suspect a dog may have canine influenza you should report it to MDARD at 1-800-292-3939, or for after-hours emergencies, (517) 373-0440,” it was noted. “MDARD is prepared to assist animal shelters with initial testing and will be reaching out to shelters and veterinarians with more canine influenza information.” For more information, persons may visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.