Dogs can contract Avian Flu directly from birds PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 April 2008 08:09

Even though the media hype regarding Avian Flu has been quiet lately, Korean researchers have found that dogs can contract influenza directly from infected birds.  In the May issue of the Journal of Emerging Infections Diseases, researchers found that domestic canines became infected by avian strains of the seasonal flu virus. 

"Our data provide evidence that dogs may play a role in interspecies transmission and spread of influenza virus," Daesub Song of Green Cross Veterinary Products Company Ltd in Yong-in, South Korea and colleagues reported.

The H3N2 influenza, a strain similar to those infecting humans were also found in the dogs.  What is concerning about that study is through genetic analysis it was proven the dogs were infected with the virus directly from birds.

Another strain of the virus, H5N1, is impacting flocks in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe.  Thus far it has only occasionally passed to humans, infecting almost 400 people and with over half of them dying as a result. It has also infected animals as well including dogs, cats, clouded leopards, civets and many bird species.

Avian flu outbreaks among dogs

"From May through September 2007, cases of severe respiratory disease occurred in animals at three veterinary clinics located 10 to 30 km (6 to 18 miles) apart in Kyunggi Province and one kennel located in Jeolla Province (southern South Korea)"

Of the dogs examined, a miniature schnauzer survived, however a cocker spaniel, two Korean Jindo dogs and a Yorkshire terrier died.

"Transmission of avian influenza A virus to a new mammalian species is of great concern because it potentially allows the virus to adapt to a new mammalian host, cross new species barriers and acquire pandemic potential"

It is important to view this research as yet another sign that the virus continues to mutate and may evenutally pass directly between humans in this author's opinion.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 May 2008 09:35