Cases of canine influenza in Ontario linked to imported rescue dogs

Canine influenza — a relatively uncommon, yet potentially fatal respiratory disease — has been spreading through Ontario.

The infection is so rare in Ontario that most dogs aren’t vaccinated against it, which makes the recent outbreak even more troubling.

Ontario dogs haven’t been exposed to the strain and aren’t immunized against it, which has enabled it to spread quickly from a handful of dogs in central Ontario to an estimated 100 dogs.

“We’ve had concerns about importing for quite a while,” said the Ontario Veterinary College’s Scott Weese, one of the authors of a 2016 report calling for tougher regulations.

“We know that when you move animals across big distances, they bring things with them and that can include a variety of diseases — and the flu has been one of those concerns. We could see this was likely to happen at some point as there are very little restrictions on how you move dogs between countries.”

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