OBJECTIVE To estimate an appropriate isolation period for dogs infected with canine influenza A H3N2 virus on the basis of the duration of virus shedding.
DESIGN Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS 16 dogs, from 3 Chicago area shelters, naturally infected with canine influenza A H3N2 virus.
PROCEDURES Medical records of 16 affected dogs were reviewed. Nasal swab specimens from each dog had been tested periodically for a minimum of 15 days following an initial positive real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (rRT-PCR) assay result for influenza A virus shedding. Amplicons were purified, quantified, and sequenced by the Sanger DNA sequencing technique. Virus isolation and sequence results of canine influenza A H3N2 virus from nasal swab specimens were obtained in conjunction with signalment, description of clinical signs, type of treatment, and outcome.
RESULTS Viruses from each dog were identified as canine influenza A H3N2 virus on the basis of DNA sequencing. The interval between first and last positive rRT-PCR assay results ranged from 13 to 24 days, whereas the time interval from first reported clinical signs to last positive assay results ranged from 15 to 26 days. Isolation of canine influenza A H3N2 virus was successful in the late shedding period from nasal swab specimens of 4 dogs at 15 and 20 days after the first positive rRT-PCR assay result and 18 to 20 days after the first clinical signs. Clinical signs resolved for all dogs that remained in the shelters during the testing period.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dogs infected with H3N2 virus should be isolated for a period of ≥ 21 days following onset of illness. Even when resolution of clinical signs occurs sooner than 21 days, shedding of H3N2 virus may persist.
As efforts to reduce the overpopulation and euthanasia of unwanted and unowned dogs and cats have increased, greater attention has been focused on spay-neuter programs throughout the United States. Because of the wide range of geographic and demographic needs, a wide variety of programs have been developed to increase delivery of spay-neuter services to targeted populations of animals, including stationary and mobile clinics, MASH-style operations, shelter services, feral cat programs, and services provided through private practitioners. In an effort to ensure a consistent level of care, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians convened a task force of veterinarians to develop veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. The guidelines consist of recommendations for preoperative care (eg, patient transport and housing, patient selection, client communication, record keeping, and medical considerations), anesthetic management (eg, equipment, monitoring, perioperative considerations, anesthetic protocols, and emergency preparedness), surgical care (eg, operating-area environment; surgical-pack preparation; patient preparation; surgeon preparation; surgical procedures for pediatric, juvenile, and adult patients; and identification of neutered animals), and postoperative care (eg, analgesia, recovery, and release). These guidelines are based on current principles of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, microbiology, and surgical practice, as determined from published evidence and expert opinion. They represent acceptable practices that are attainable in spay-neuter programs.