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Since equine influenza A virus (H3N8) was transmitted to dogs in the United States in 2004, the causative virus, which is called canine influenza A virus (CIV), has become widespread in dogs. To date, it has remained unclear whether or not CIV-infected dogs could transmit CIV to horses. To address this, we tested whether or not close contact between horses and dogs experimentally infected with CIV would result in its interspecies transmission.
Three pairs of animals consisting of a dog inoculated with CIV (108.3 egg infectious dose50/dog) and a healthy horse were kept together in individual stalls for 15 consecutive days. During the study, all the dogs and horses were clinically observed. Virus titres in nasal swab extracts and serological responses were also evaluated. In addition, all the animals were subjected to a gross pathological examination after euthanasia.
All three dogs inoculated with CIV exhibited clinical signs including, pyrexia, cough, nasal discharge, virus shedding and seroconversion. Gross pathology revealed lung consolidations in all the dogs, and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus was isolated from the lesions. Meanwhile, none of the paired horses showed any clinical signs, virus shedding or seroconversion. Moreover, gross pathology revealed no lesions in the respiratory tracts including the lungs of the horses.
These findings may indicate that a single dog infected with CIV is not sufficient to constitute a source of CIV infection in horses.