The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, confirmed on April 1, 2023, that a domestic dog in Oshawa, Ontario has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The domestic dog was found to have been infected with avian influenza after chewing on a wild goose, and died after developing clinical signs. The necropsy was completed on April 3, 2023, and showed respiratory system involvement. Further testing is underway. It is the only case of its kind in Canada.
The number of documented cases of avian influenza H5N1 in non-avian species, such as cats and dogs is low, despite the fact that this virus has caused large avian outbreaks globally over the last few years.
Based on the current evidence in Canada, the risk to the general public remains low and current scientific evidence suggests that the risk of a human contracting avian influenza from a domestic pet is minor.
Furthermore, no domestically acquired human cases of avian influenza have been reported in Canada. Cases of avian influenza among humans are rare and almost always acquired through direct contact with infected birds or exposure to heavily contaminated environments. To date, there has been no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread.
Nonetheless, owners are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to protect their pets and themselves.
Pet owners are advised to:
- not feed pets (e.g., dogs or cats) any raw meat from game birds or poultry
- not allow pets to consume or play with dead wild birds found outside
- contact their veterinarian if they have questions about their pet’s health
The health and safety of Canadians remains our top priority, and the Government of Canada is closely monitoring the situation. We are tracking avian influenza activity in Canada and around the world, with domestic and international partners, including the World Health Organization. Furthermore, the CFIA has a dedicated response team of experts that has been activated to respond to the AI outbreaks and will coordinate actions with federal, provincial and territorial partners and industry.
For more information on precautions pet owners can take, please visit the CFIA’s website.