New York Dog Tests Positive for H1N1

Mixed-breed dog tested positive for H1N1 virus but is recovering after hospitalization.

A 13-year-old male mixed-breed dog has tested positive for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, the first known reported U.S. case, according to Idexx Reference Laboratories. The Westbrook, Maine-based company, which recently launched its H1N1 Influenza Virus RealPCR Test, made the announcement Monday.

The canine sample was submitted to Idexx by the Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center in Bedford Hills, N.Y., earlier this month. The sample tested positive for H1N1. The result was later independently verified by Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory.

The dog had been taken to the veterinarian after not feeling well for several days. He was treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories with no improvement in condition. The dog was then taken to an emergency veterinarian at Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center on Dec. 13 with lethargy, lack of appetite, dry cough and a fever of 103.6°F. During the exam, the owner reported that he had tested positive earlier in the week for the H1N1 influenza virus.

After 48 hours of hospitalization and supportive care, the dog improved and was sent home, where he is reportedly recovering well.

To date, H1N1 has also been detected in cats, ferrets, pigs, birds and humans. So far, pets are believed to have contracted the virus from their owners.

“There have been a number of apparent reverse zoonosis cases in companion animals whose owners were also infected with the virus,” said Jane Robertson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, head of internal medicine at Idexx Reference Laboratories. “While there is no evidence these pets spread H1N1 to other animals or to people, this new case confirms the ability of the virus to infect multiple species including dogs.”

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