Dog dies of avian influenza

by Steve Galea | May 19, 2023
dog avian influenza

A pet dog in Oshawa that tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) died in early April, according to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) media statement.

The dog was found to have HPAI after chewing on a dead Canada goose and died after developing clinical signs of the disease. It is the only case of its kind in Canada.

According to the agencies, “The number of documented cases of avian influenza H5N1 in non-avian species, such as cats and dogs, is low despite the fact that this virus has caused large avian outbreaks globally over the last few years.”

They added, “Based on the current evidence in Canada, the risk to the general public remains low. And current scientific evidence suggests that the risk of a human contracting avian influenza from a domestic pet is minor.”

As of press time, no domestically acquired human cases of avian influenza have been reported in Canada. Cases among humans are rare and almost always acquired by direct contact with infected birds. Or exposure to heavily contaminated areas. To date, there has been no evidence of ongoing transmission between people.

What to avoid

The agencies advise pet owners to avoid feeding pets raw meat from game birds or poultry. And not allow pets to consume or play with dead wild birds found outside. They also advise pet owners to contact their veterinarian if they have questions about their pet’s health.

The CFIA reported detections of HPAI in mammals to the World Health Organization in July 2022. Initial detections were in foxes in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, and seals, dolphins, and Quebec black bears. Detections have also been reported in wild mink, raccoons, porpoises, and skunks from several areas across Canada.

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