Effects of equine influenza in dogs
A paper published in the recent issue of Science describes the recent emergence of equine influenza virus, first recognized in racing greyhounds in January 2004, as a pathogen in dogs. During the past year, cases of the virus have been reported in pet dogs in Florida and New York, which raises concern that the virus is spreading.
Christopher Olsen, a public health professor and influenza scientist at the School of Veterinary Medicine, co-authored the paper, "Transmission of Equine Influenza Virus to Dogs." The disease, which causes hemorrhagic (bloody) pneumonia, can be fatal. Scientists are studying the potential ramifications and whether the virus could be transmitted to humans as well.
The Centers for Disease Control organized a research team to study the new disease problem. Olsen and his laboratory provided equine influenza virus expertise and supplied unpublished genetic sequence information about equine influenza to assist the group and determine the nature of the virus affecting dogs.
In addition to UW-Madison, the team included lead author Cynda Crawford, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and investigators from veterinary medical colleges at Cornell University in New York, Texas AandM University and Auburn University in Alabama.
Olsen's laboratory is working with the laboratory of Gabriele Landolt, who received her doctorate at UW-Madison while working in Olsen's laboratory and now is at Colorado State University, to develop a laboratory model system designed to study influenza virus infection in horse and dog epithelial cells.
In addition, Ronald D. Schultz, a scientist at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, is investigating whether the virus is present in Wisconsin's shelter and pet dog population.
This news story is adapted from a press release by University of Wisconsin. More information and reports of other exciting research that is occurring at University of Wisconsin is available at their website.