INDUSTRY ALERT from IDEXX Reference Laboratories:
H1N1 influenza virus infection confirmed in household pets

Background

In the United States, the H1N1 influenza virus has been confirmed recently as the cause of respiratory disease in several ferrets and cats resulting in more than one death in each of these species. A dog has also been confirmed with the H1N1 influenza virus. These infections were believed to have been contracted from infected owners.

Review these recent case studies:
Feline case study, Colorado — January 12, 2010  
Feline case study, California — December 20, 2009  
Canine case study, New York — December 13, 2009

For up-to-date news on the 2009 H1N1 flu virus outbreak and FAQs from the American Veterinary Medical Association go to http://www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/new_virus/default.asp

Clinical Signs

The clinical signs of H1N1 virus infection are likely to resemble those of other common respiratory infections. However, more severe respiratory disease, including pneumonia, may be possible. Clinical signs may include:

  • Coughing, sneezing and oculonasal discharge
  • Fever, lethargy and loss of appetite
  • Dyspnea and tachypnea

Because the clinical signs of H1N1 virus infection resemble those of other respiratory infections, IDEXX has included the H1N1 Influenza Virus RealPCR™ Test in the Feline Upper Respiratory Disease (URD) and Canine Respiratory Disease (CRD) RealPCR™ panels at no additional cost. These panels include PCR tests for the more common feline and canine pathogens, which are still more likely causes of respiratory disease in patients. The H1N1 Influenza Virus RealPCR Test also can be ordered as a stand-alone test.

When to Test

Testing should be considered in any pet with evidence of respiratory disease. The shedding period of influenza viruses is short. Samples should be submitted for testing within 7 days of the onset of clinical signs to avoid negative results in infected animals.

Test CodeTest Name and Contents

2512

Upper Respiratory Disease (URD) RealPCR™ Panel—Feline

Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydophila felis, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), H1N1 influenza virus and Mycoplasma felis RealPCR™ tests

2524

Respiratory Disease (CRD) RealPCR™ Test—Canine

Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine distemper virus, canine herpesvirus type 1 (CHV-1), canine influenza virus (H3N8), canine parainfluenza virus type 3, canine respiratory coronavirus and H1N1 influenza virus RealPCR™ tests

2927

H1N1 Influenza Virus RealPCR™ Test

Specimen Requirements

Deep pharyngeal swab (with visible organic material on swab; please rub firmly) and a conjunctival swab (wipe eye clean; swab inside of eyelid) in the same tube. Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media, in a serum tube or an empty, sterile tube; keep refrigerated.

Turnaround time: 1–3 working days

For pricing, please call customer support at 1-888-433-9987, option 3.

Expert Feedback on Possible H1N1 Influenza Virus Cases When You Need It

Our team of internal medicine specialists is always available for complimentary consultation. Please call 1-888-433-9987, option 4, option 2, if you have questions.