Canine influenza is an important disease affecting dogs, especially in situations where many dogs come together (e.g., boarding, shows). Recent outbreaks of canine influenza have involved dog shows in the United States with anecdotally high levels of dog-dog transmission of canine influenza virus (CIV), resulting in dog illness and death, and wide-spread transmission into the general dog community. Despite the importance of this disease, little is known of modifiable factors linked to CIV spread in dogs participating in shows. Study objectives were to describe the knowledge, attitudes, practices (KAP) and observations related to CIV transmission and disease prevention by individuals participating in dog shows in the United States and Canada and pilot a voluntary surveillance tool to serve as an early warning mechanism to identify disease events linked to dog shows. Two questionnaires were developed, widely distributed through national and regional kennel club organizations and administered (May-Nov 2019) on-line to a large convenience sample of individuals that had ever shown at least one dog in the past, with a focus on those showing in Canada and the USA. The KAP questionnaire was completed by 2,301 respondents, while the illness surveillance questionnaire was completed by 449 respondents (had participated in a show within the past 14 days). Overall, respondents were very/somewhat concerned (64%) that one of the dogs they show will become infected with CIV at a show. Despite this concern, respondents’ knowledge of CIV was lacking in several key areas (e.g., routes of transmission, infectious period) and high-risk practices frequently reported (e.g., rarely/never immediately disinfect high contact items brought back from a show). Although a high proportion ( >93%) of respondents reported all of their show dogs had received core vaccines (or had titers performed, as appropriate) in the past three years, a minority had received ‘lifestyle’ vaccines in the past year [CIV (51%), Bordetella (60%), leptospirosis (40%), Lyme (20%)]. Of the illness surveillance respondents, a minority reported that since the event one or more of the dogs they showed had developed cough (2%), diarrhea (7%) or vomiting (2%). Of these 44 ill dogs, 8 (18%) required veterinary care at which time Bordetella (n=4) and CIV (n=1) were diagnosed. A high proportion (39%) of the respondents that reported ill dogs shortly after their most recent event, stated that since the dog became ill additional dogs at their facility not at the event had also become ill, suggesting further transmission. This study suggests several concerning CIV knowledge gaps and high-risk practices among the dog showing community, but also a high level of motivation to make changes in practices. Although not definitive evidence for show-associated transmission, these findings are suggestive of such an occurrence and highlight the potential utility of this surveillance tool. Together, these findings can be used to inform veterinary recommendations for CIV prevention.
Recall key clinical and epidemiologic features of canine influenza virus (CIV).
Describe CIV-related knowledge gaps and high-risk practices reported by those showing dogs in the USA and Canada.
List dog- and setting-based recommendations to reduce the chance of CIV outbreaks in dog shows and the community.