The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has launched a three-year study on Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), also commonly called the dog flu.
The study, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, aims to help shelters develop testing and control methods to limit the effects of the disease in communities nationwide.
Miranda Spindel, DVM, ASPCA director of veterinary outreach, and Gabriele Landolt, DVM, of Colorado State University’s Department of Clinical Sciences, will conduct the study, which will include ASPCA shelter partners in Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Sacramento, Calif.,; Charleston, S.C.; New York; and Denver, Colo.
“Infection control practices can reduce the risk of CIV and are key to preventing the spread of viral disease within facilities,” Dr. Spindel said. “Due to the fact that the virus is easily transmitted between dogs housed in close contact with each other, it is problematic for animal shelters. This study seeks to address this vulnerable population.”
The study will also determine whether a rapid “bedside” test can be effectively used for screening dogs upon entering the shelter. If such a test were available, dogs could be tested for CIV prior to entering the main shelter population, thereby preventing virus introduction, according to the ASPCA.
In addition, the researchers will determine how the virus changes over time, a process referred to as genetic drift. The ASPCA said that the information gained may ultimately aid in the development, improvement and use of vaccines to prevent the disease.