Mysterious new dog illness is flu strain from horses - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mysterious new dog illness is flu strain from horses

WASHINGTON (AP) - The mysterious respiratory disease that has swept greyhound racetracks across the country and also afflicted pet dogs is a type of flu. Officials say the influenza strain jumped from horses to dogs.

Such a rapid jump into a new species is rare -- the flu usually evolves into new strains more gradually.

But genetic tests of sick dogs found their disease almost identical to the H3-N8 influenza strain that afflicts horses.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of Florida made the discovery.

Moreover, they found evidence of widespread infection in racedogs around the country and in pets of various breeds in Florida and New York.

Since this is a new virus for dogs, they are unlikely to harbor a natural immunity to it.

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