Canine Influenza Now in Ontario

Pet owners in Markham and the Ontario area, be aware – the canine flu has arrived in Ontario. Please read the information below for additional information. If you have any questions, contact your local vet clinic.

Two dogs in Essex County, Ontario, have been diagnosed with the H3N2 canine influenza. Originally from South Korea, these dogs made their way through the U.S. before entering Canada. This happened in late December. Shortly after their arrival, a veterinarian checked them and noted signs of respiratory disease. By this time, a small group of dogs had been exposed to the sick dogs and appear to have mild respiratory disease. However, whether they currently suffer from canine influenza isn’t clear. Test results are pending.

Despite a worldwide outbreak, this is the first known H3N2 canine influenza invasion in Ontario. Already well documented in certain areas of Asia, it also causes problems in the U.S., particularly in shelter environments.

The canine influenza virus is something a Markham veterinary clinic never wants to come across. One dog can spread it to another easily, especially in a country like Canada. This is because Canadian dogs didn’t develop immunity from past illnesses and vaccination is a rare occurrence. As this is a new disease in Ontario, we expect it to spread slowly to Markham. In the meantime we would like to raise awareness and advise the following:

  • In the case of most dogs, they don’t fall seriously ill if influenza shows up in their systems. Seemingly healthy dogs could be hiding the influenza virus. That means they could potentially infect other animals without raising alarms. If you’re concerned about your own dog, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
  • The symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections. They may appear to have the canine flu when it’s actually a respiratory disease that is very similar (kennel cough, for example. Also known as “canine infectious respiratory disease complex”). That doesn’t mean, however, that dangerous complications can’t or won’t arise.
  • While vaccines can’t guarantee protection for your dog, the vaccines do lessen the chances of getting the flu (doesn’t that sound similar to the human flu vaccination?). We will advise you when we believe that vaccinations are indicated in our area.
  • In rare cases, cats can get the flu.
  • The canine flu does not infect humans.

You can protect your pet by taking these steps:

  • All dog parks, dog kennels, day boarding areas (crowding areas) are the areas where the disease can spread faster.
  • Change clothes and wash them after interacting with other dogs, especially if you don’t know them. You should also wash your hands after touching or playing with these dogs.
  • When you bring your dog to the veterinarian with any sign of cough, let us know in advance. We may want to examine your dog in your car and not let him into the lobby to spread the virus. The veterinary clinic might opt to take your dog directly to an isolated room or have you come in through a back entrance.
  • Disinfect surfaces. If a neighbor’s dog chews on your dog’s favorite squeaky toy, wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe or wash with warm water and soap. You should also do this with food and water bowls.
  • Stay updated on the H3N2 canine influenza invasion. Check for updates on our Facebook Page, watch the news, read a newspaper, set up online alerts. Use what you’re comfortable with so you’ll stick with it.

If you found this blog informative, please share it with your friends on Facebook . Please call us (905)477-2323 for any questions or search for more articles on our website:



Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Fear Free Certified Practitioner

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.). We pride ourselves to provide cost effective veterinary medicine and give you options for treatments. Some may think our services as cheap, but our goal is to give good value.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.




Comments are closed.