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First known Canadian cases of canine influenza found in two Ontario dogs

Last Updated Jan 9, 2018 at 3:47 pm EDT

A dog and his owner playing tug-of-war. GETTY IMAGES/Hero Images.

Health officials say two dogs in southwestern Ontario have tested positive for a strain of canine influenza in what they are calling the virus’s first known incursion into Canada.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says the dogs were brought to Canada from South Korea through the United States late last month and were showing signs of respiratory disease during a veterinary exam the next day.

The agency says a small number of dogs that came into close contact with the pair also have mild respiratory disease but test results for those animals are not yet available.

It says the H3N2 canine influenza virus is highly transmissible between dogs and has become widespread in parts of Asia and caused outbreaks in some U.S. locations, particularly in shelters.

The health unit says most dogs who develop the disease don’t get seriously ill, but those who show symptoms should be kept away from other dogs for at least two weeks to limit spreading.

Health officials say there is no known human risk from the virus, but note the risk that it might mix with human seasonal influenza viruses is “a potential concern.