Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Norway Veterinary Institute On Unknown Disease Killing Dogs


For the past several days Pathfinder at FluTrackers has been gathering and translating reports on a mysterious acute intestinal illness affecting - and sometimes killing - dogs in Norway. 
Over the past 24 hours, several major media outlets - including CNN - have picked up on the story. 
Unusual outbreaks in companion animals are doubly distressing, due to the intense personal connection people have to their pets, and the close contacts humans have with them. 
So far, there are no indications of this disease has jumped to, or affects, humans.
Two (translated) reports from Norway's Veterinærinstituttet.  First a look at the initial autopsy report on 3 dogs, then an update on what is known to date.

Corresponding findings in autopsied dogs
Veterinary Institute has made consistent findings of bloody enteritis in four dogs that have come into the autopsy and discovered two different bacteria from three of the dogs. The Department can not determine whether these bacteria are the cause of the disease.

Three dogs that are autopsied at NMBU Veterinary Science have shown similar findings of bloody enteritis. Veterinary Institute report that they have found the bacteria  Clostridium perfringens  and  Providencia alcalifaciens both of which can cause diarrhea. Where the bacteria originated from, can not be determined yet.

(Continue . . . )

Acute dog disease in September 2019 - this we know
On this page you will find what we know at the moment of acute illness in dogs with severe diarrhea and malaise. The page will be updated when we have new information to share.

Latest update with new information: on September 10 at 12:00

Veterinary Institute are actively working with the FSA, NMBU Veterinary School, veterinarians and others to find relationships in the many cases of acute dog disease that has led to sick and dead dogs in the past. 

Latest news:
  • Since monday FSA received one new message about a dog that has similar symptoms of illness. The case is from Østfold. It has additionally been fewer reports of dogs with more moderate symptoms.
  • Veterinary Institute Monday detected the bacterium Providencia alcalifaciens in two of the three dogs that were autopsied yesterday Sunday 8th September. That is a total found this bacterium in a total of seven dogs (six autopsied and a living). This provides valuable information for the further work. Samples from a dog will be examined further for this bacterium.
  • In these three dogs is not detected the bacterium Clostridium perfringens .
  • Autopsies of two new dogs Monday shows coincident signs of illness with previous findings at autopsy with bloody enteritis.
  • A questionnaire has been sent out to collect and record information for analysis. It is sent SMS to 2000 veterinarians across the country, while email is sent to the clinics. We ask veterinarians record all cases with symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting and malaise on the dog since August 1 onwards. The veterinarians must contact the dog owner in order to answer the form well.
  • Veterinary Institute is also interested to receive samples from veterinarians who have patients with bloody enteritis, preferably before antibiotic treatment. Such submission covered by the state.
  • Veterinary Institute will accept dead dogs to the autopsy. The veterinarian must arrange this with the FSA and the National Veterinary Institute
  • See also news story from Sunday September 8:  Intestinal Inflammation and bacterial findings in more dogs
  • FSA has since Sunday received four new reports of isolated cases of dogs that have similar symptoms of illness. These cases are from Oslo, Akershus and Sogn og Fjordane. Two dogs going Veterinærinstituttet Monday for autopsy.
  • FSA has as of now no evidence to indicate abnormal occurrence of symptoms elsewhere than in the Oslo area.
  • In addition to the advice that everything is out, we remind you how important it is to use dog bag to all dog owners. Updated advice to dog owners is available on the website of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

What do we do now

Autopsies, laboratory analysis, and large amounts of information collected, compared and collated with knowledge of animal diseases from home and abroad. Wanted systematic and wide with the hope to be able to rule out some possible causes and find connections to pursue further. This includes infectious agent such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and algae as well as a result of precipitation, temperature, poor water quality etc.. We also searches the previous cases at home and abroad. The symptoms of the disease occurs commonly in dogs, but we are seeing an increase in August 2019 with more acute cases than before.

We know this

  • FSA has forwarded information to the Veterinary Institute Sunday 8th of September about illnesses with similar symptoms from Nordland, Oslo, Vestfold, Aust-Agder, Hordaland, Møre og Romsdal, Trøndelag, Buskerud, Hedmark, Rogaland, Østfold, Sogn og Fjordane, Telemark and Akershus. 
  • On Sunday morning, there came four new reports of isolated cases of dogs that have similar symptoms of illness. One of the dogs were sacrificed due to disease acute stage and one died before coming to veterinary practice. The messages coming from Møre og Romsdal, Vestfold, Buskerud and Nordland. Total figures for the number of dead or sick are uncertain numbers.  
  • Autopsy of the first three dogs showing obvious signs of severe intestinal disease. Pathologist observed a very bloody enteritis, and has eliminated the most common causes of bloody enteritis, such as a salmonellainfeksjon.Obduksjoner at the Veterinary School show similar pathological findings. Read more here .
  • Necropsied at NVI and subsequent laboratory analysis has shown two bacteria in abnormally large amounts. These bacteria are Clostridium perfringens and Providencia alcalifaciens .
  • Veterinary Institute, Food Safety Authority and the Veterinary School has sent out a preliminary questionnaire to a limited number of cases to get shaped a more precise, but at the same time wider and further distributed questionnaire. The new questionnaire is sent to expensive clinics and private practice veterinarians Sunday 8th September.
  • Number of dogs with similar symptoms increased from 20 August 2019. Animal Hospitals are reporting more cases in August 2019 than in the same month last year. More expensive clinics are asked now to help compare statistics.
  • Public Health and Veterinary Institute has considered the possibility of a link between the outbreak among dogs and the ongoing outbreak of EHEC infection among humans. The two outbreaks are considered two separate events. There is so far no indication of infection with the same bacterium, and keeping dogs is not shown as a common denominator among people who have fallen ill with EHEC infection. Geographic distribution of patients in the two bursts coincide neither. Work is continuing on a wide range of microbiological tests in from samples from dogs, and also EHEC included in the repertoire of investigations.

What we can now largely exclude?

  • Not only Oslo: Cases with similar symptoms have been reported from a number of counties across the country.
  • Not Salmonella : There is no evidence of Salmonella .
  • Not Campylobacter : There is no evidence  Campylobacter.
  • Do not rat poison or the like. Based on the initial autopsies of dead dogs will Veterinærinstituttet exclude rodenticides and similar specific poisoning as possible cause of death. You examined the dogs do not have internal damage that will be consistent with such poisoning. This exclusion does not include all kinds of toxins that can occur naturally

Correcting rumors

No invoice : No dog owner must pay for autopsies that are now carried out after consultation between the veterinary, the FSA and the National Veterinary Institute. An invoice is drawn by the appropriate animal clinic who regrets the error. This is now being treated as a notifiable disease, which means that the National Veterinary Institute as part of the nature of public takes all costs autopsy.

No reason to warn against certain animal feed products : In social media it spread accusations against unnamed feed manufacturers. Veterinary Institute has no information that this is correct, on the contrary, we see a wide range of feed products in the material we have to now - which underlines the complexity of the case. Feed is just one of many different "tracks" which are monitored as well water, fungi, parasites, bacteria and viruses etc. 
        (Continue . . . )

While zoonotic diseases are of the greatest concern, animal and environmental health are both viewed as integral to human health under the `One Health' concept, and so we give them much more attention today than ever before. 

Cover for the One Health Fact Sheet

For more on the `One health', visit the CDC's One Health Basics website. 

I'll update this story as more information becomes available.