Canine Flu Diagnosed in Pets Across United States, Into Canada

An increasing number of pet dogs have been diagnosed with canine influenza, a virus found previously in racing greyhounds, across the United States and in Canada over the last few months. Dramatic reports from kennels and private practitioners have led to a media frenzy, said some veterinary professionals.

As a result, veterinary researchers are encouraging practitioners to look for signs of the canine flu and to provide supportive treatment to patients, said Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD. Tomorrow, Sept. 22, 2005, the Diagnostic Lab at Cornell University will have an update on the situation online. More information will be available in the coming weeks and a full story on canine influenza will appear in the October 3, 2005, issue of NEWStat.

Crawford, who has researched the canine flu for many years, suggests that veterinarians conduct serology tests and nasal swabs to diagnose the flu and to prescribe a combination of wide-spectrum antibiotics if a secondary, bacterial infection occurs. Although she did not specify antibiotics, Crawford said that the drugs prescribed should be effective against gram negative and positive bacteria. She also said that dogs with signs of respiratory disease should not be kept waiting with other patients as the virus spreads quickly through coughing and sneezing.

Describing canine influenza as a high morbidity, low fatality virus, Crawford said that 10 percent of the dogs diagnosed with it die. Crawford has been contacted by reporters from the New York Times and was surprised to see the amount of interest canine influenza has received online at

"This is something that needs to be addressed so that we can get the right information out," she said.