News & Opinion | June 7, 2018 12:46 pm

Dogs May Spread Future Influenza Pandemic

A new study warns of new interactions between influenzas present in canines.

Veternarian Dr. Linda Pirie examines a dog named Louie at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on January 25, 2018 in Los Gatos, California. Veternarians have seen a surge in dog owners seeking to have their dogs immunized for "dog flu" after reports that the highly contagious canine influenzaÑH3N2 and H3N8Ñis rapidly spreading. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Veternarian Dr. Linda Pirie examines a dog named Louie at Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital on January 25, 2018 in Los Gatos, California. Veternarians have seen a surge in dog owners seeking to have their dogs immunized for "dog flu" after reports that the highly contagious canine influenzaÑH3N2 and H3N8Ñis rapidly spreading. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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A new study suggests that dogs could be a potential host for a future influenza pandemic, according to the American Society for Microbiology.

The study, published in mBio, warns that it is possible for influenza to travel from pigs to dogs, and that the variety of strains present in dogs is increasing. In previous modeling of potential pandemics, scientists have generally postulated that the influenza would jump from bird to pig to human beings. But adding dog as an intermediary between pig and human would be a troublesome development given the domestic pets’ ubiquitous presence among people. According to the study, the increasing interaction between different influenza in dogs is “very reminiscent of what happened in swine ten years before the H1N1 pandemic.”

Of course, there’s still a lot scientists don’t know. Future studies are needed to predict whether humans are already immune to canine H1N1.