03 April 2016

Canine Influenza Found in Cats

(Cheryl Wallach Photography)
Sandra Newbury, clinical assistant professor and director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Veterinary Medicine, has confirmed that canine influenza has now infected a group of cats in Indiana.

Newbury, along with Kathy Toohey-Kurth, virology section head at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, tested multiple cats at an animal shelter in Northwest Indiana and found them positive for the H3N2 canine influenza virus.

“Suspicions of an outbreak in the cats were initially raised when a group of them displayed unusual signs of respiratory disease,” Newbury says in their press release. “While this first confirmed report of multiple cats testing positive for canine influenza in the U.S. shows the virus can affect cats, we hope that infections and illness in felines will continue to be quite rare.”

Cats that have contracted the virus in the shelter have displayed symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and general malaise, as well as lip smacking and excessive salivation. Symptoms have resolved quickly and so far, the virus has not been fatal in cats.

Newbury and the UW Shelter Medicine team are working closely with the animal shelter to manage the influenza outbreak.

An H3N2 vaccine is now available for dogs, but no vaccine is currently approved or recommended for cats.

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