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Dog flu halts import of dogs from Singapore temporarily

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recently confirmed that a dog imported from Singapore was diagnosed with Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) at the post entry quarantine facility (PEQ) in Melbourne, Victoria. CIV is usually a mild disease but is known to cause pneumonia and even death in very young and old dogs. Since CIV has never been reported in Australia before, the virus was considered as a disease of biosecurity concern.

All dogs in the quarantine facility were screened for the virus to ensure the virus does not spread in Australia. Since it is a contagious disease, dogs were not allowed to leave the facility until the department deemed each animal healthy and unaffected. The affected dog at the facility has been isolated and underwent treatment under careful supervision.

The department has temporarily suspended all dog imports from Singapore until further notice. Cats do not carry CIV and are exempted from the suspension.

What is CIV?

Canine influenza (dog flu) is a highly contagious respiratory disease of dogs caused by canine influenza virus (CIV) and is exotic to Australia. There are two subtypes of CIV – H3N8 and H3N2. H3N2 is the currently circulating subtype in the US and some parts of Asia. CIV is usually a mild disease that improves on its own. Affected dogs are treated with antibiotics if the infection is severe.

There is no indication of CIV spreading to humans.

What precautions do I take with my dog?

If your dog has recently been released from quarantine, it is unlikely that it has been exposed or infected, however it is prudent to keep your dog in a separate area for two weeks. During this time do not socialise with other dogs or take your dog to places where other dogs frequent, such as parks, dog shows etc.

If your dog becomes unwell within this period seek medical treatment and notify PEQ by email at PEQservices@agriculture.gov.au.

Is there a CIV vaccine?

CIV vaccination is not available in Australia. Vaccinations in other countries do not prevent the disease but minimise the severity of the infection. If you are overseas, and are planning to travel to Australia with your pet, your vet can advise if vaccination against CIV is available. Advance planning is advisable as vaccination immunity can take several weeks.

If you are planning to travel to Australia with your dog our expert team can provide more information on CIV, CIV vaccinations and answer general questions about the requirements of your move.

More information about CIV is available online at AVMA.

Editor’s note: The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has removed the temporary travel ban and is allowing dogs to travel from Singapore into Australia, however the regulations and veterinary processes have become more involved to mitigate bio security risks. To find out more about the mandatory canine influenza nasal swab tests in both the origin and destination countries please contact our team.