Research Provides Better Tools for Detecting and Managing Respiratory Infections in Shelter Dogs

Canine influenza virus (CIV), a rapidly emerging threat to all dogs, is particularly harmful to those in shelters or kennels. With Morris Animal Foundation funding, scientists at the University of Florida studied the prevalence of influenza virus infection in 34 shelters across six states. They also studied CIV’s relationship with other respiratory disorders, such as canine distemper virus (CDV) and kennel cough. This study provided valuable and previously unknown information regarding the most common causes of respiratory infections in dogs in shelters. Results showed that viruses, not bacteria, cause most respiratory infections in shelter dogs. The study also found that CDV, canine respiratory coronavirus and CIV are the most prevalent viruses, and dogs infected with these viruses are often infected with other viruses, such as canine herpesvirus. Scientists used a new diagnostic test that rapidly identifies the presence of seven different respiratory viruses. This new test allows for earlier detection during acute phases of respiratory infection so shelters can make more rapid management responses, thereby minimizing the spread of infection. The knowledge from this study can be used to develop more effective management strategies to control respiratory infections of dogs in shelters.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, University of Florida, D06CA-071

Pork Chop’s Way

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