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February 2, 2023 — Dr. Kelly Diehl chats with Dr. Gabriele Landolt of Colorado State University about the "flu" in animals. The pair discuss how influenza viruses perpetuate in the environment and how some, but not all, animals are affected by influenza. Dr. Landolt discusses how to keep companion animals such as dogs and horses safe when influenza strikes. The pair also touch on how these viruses can mutate to infect new species, including people.


CDC Guidelines for Cats and Dogs

World Organisation for Animal Health Information on Influenza and Their Guidelines

American Veterinary Medical Association Canine Influenza Information

0:00:09.3 Dr. Diehl (DD): Welcome to Fresh Scoop Episode 53, Influenza viruses in animals big and small - what you need to know. I'm your host, Dr. Kelly Diehl, Morris Animal Foundation, Senior Director of science communication. And today, we'll talk to Dr. Gabriele Landolt. Dr. Landolt is Professor of Equine Medicine at Colorado State University. Welcome, Gabriele.

0:00:33.1 Dr. Landolt (DL): Thank you for the introduction Dr. Diehl.

0:00:35.8 DD: So, before we get started, I always ask everyone, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, kind of what led you to veterinary medicine, and ultimately specialized in equine and throw in the virology in there too.


0:00:51.6 DL: Well, as I said thank you very much for the introduction. Well, probably maybe to start off with, you're probably hearing an accent when I'm talking, so that's because I'm from Switzerland, and so the reason why I became a veterinarian is I grew up in a household of medical doctors, and so was from the get go, kind of brought up with a love of Medicine and Science. But I also really like animals, I really love working with animals, I have been a horseback rider from an early age on. And so, in the end I was kind of a natural fit to get into veterinary medicine. And the reason why I specialized in equine Internal Medicine or actually internal large animal internal medicine was because when I was in private practice or in an ambulatory practice back at home, after I graduated from vet school, I always felt that there is more to know, and I wanted to just learn more about an area of specialty. And as I'm a terrible surgeon, I admit it, equine or medicine in general was kind of the path for me to go and I really enjoyed it and still enjoy every day working with patients and clients.

0:02:04.0 DL: Virology was really... I have a very strong interest in infectious diseases, and so I happen to, after my residency program and my board certification, I was looking to do a PhD because I always liked science and the research part as well, and so I ended up being offered a position in a virology lab that specialized on influenza viruses. And I have never looked back since then.

0:02:31.4 DD: That's great. I sympathize or empathize with you about surgery, yeah, [laughter] that's why I'm an internist too. So, I think a lot of us know... We hear about flu viruses all the time, it's just in our jargon. But I don't know that we know all the specifics as veterinarians, as the general public. Can you start by just giving us some information about flu viruses from the 30,000 foot level kind of, and then we'll dive down further?

0:03:02.4 DL: Yes. Well, influenza viruses are obviously a concern across species, so that's... Is a concern for humans as well as obviously for multiple animal species. Influenza viruses are actually... They've been known for many, many years, it is actually interesting when you go back in kind of the... In history, you'll find reference to influenza from Hippocrates, I think 500... 412 Before Christ. So, this obviously was not described as the flu virus but the disease was described, and so it's a very ancient and very well-known disease. It is a virus, and it is an RNA virus, which just to kind of complicate matters a little bit, there is RNA and DNA viruses and RNA viruses are viruses that are actually often a little bit more simple than the DNA viruses. They tend to be larger and have a lot more genes, etcetera. Influenza is a really simple virus if you think about it, it only has 11 proteins that's what makes... So, it has a segmented genome, which is a specialty of influenza, has eight gene segments and these gene segments they encode 11 proteins. So again, very simple virus, but obviously still a big concern for many species.

0:04:24.1 DD: And that brings me... This is something that confuses me. And maybe you can help with this. I know a lot of people think of viruses as... We hear, "Avian virus." And everybody gets really uptight when we hear there's a new avian flu virus, which I think a lot of us, if you're buying eggs right now, you know they are expensive. But what... There is a sort of association between bird flus and flus in other animals, can you clarify that?

0:04:56.2 DL: Yeah, so the interesting thing is that evolutionary all influenza viruses actually go back to birds. So, the viruses originally came from birds, and then subsequently the virus was able to jump species and infect other species and then started to establish its own what we call lineage within those different species. So, there is an avian lineage, but again when you look evolutionary all of the viruses go back to two birds. Interestingly also as you probably know that influenza viruses have what we consider to be a reservoir species, so where we think all of the flu viruses, the different types of flu viruses are maintained within that reservoir species and that reservoir species is considered to be wild waterfowl. So, within those species actually flu is highly adapted to. So, it really doesn't change very much within those species and obviously as we probably will talk a little bit later on in other species flu tends to change over time and tends to what we call drift. And so, in wild waterfowl which are the reservoir species again the flu is actually very closely or highly adapted to these species, and so because of that it doesn't really change that much.

0:06:13.5 DD: Okay. So that's a good point. So just so I have it clear, it's not mutating very much within waterfowl, but it mutates once it goes to another species. Is that kind of a...

0:06:24.2 DL: Yeah, that's correct. So, within the reservoir species, the virus... And it also doesn't appear to be causing... And with exceptions obviously, but it doesn't cause as significant of a disease, clinical disease, as it does in other species. And so, because of that, it's often considered to be in evolutionary stasis, so that the two... Flu has kind of learned to live with birds and birds have kind of learned to live with the flu.

0:06:52.1 DD: Okay. And which... Alright, so we talked about waterfowl. Talk about... I think people understand now, COVID's helped us. Maybe it's helped virologist with some terminology, because I think people hear about mutations and things and people I think are highly hyper-alert right now with viruses "jumping" from one species to another. But walk us through how that happens without all the hype that we hear about it.

0:07:23.0 DL: Well, so the reason why we probably... And probably going back, the whole cross-species transmission of viruses has always happened. This is not something that's new. And I do think obviously there's been changes in ecology overall. So, I think spaces where wildlife used to live pretty much undisturbed has become more and more invaded by people and so I think the contact of people with wildlife species has increased. And so, because of that sometimes viruses that circulate within one species sometimes can find a new host. And so, in contrast to bacteria viruses often are... They have a bit more species restriction and there are certain viruses that are staying in animal species or in people and will likely never transmit or transfer to other species. And the reason for that is because they typically use a specific part on the cell that they use as the receptor or the kind of the entry point into that cell, and sometimes they're very, very specific for the type of receptor that they're using.

0:08:30.4 DL: Now flu is not that specific, and so flu tends to jump from species to species actually fairly commonly. Now in most cases though, these infections are often sporadic. So, it jumps from, let's say, if you have contact, close contact with an infected bird, that bird gives you the flu virus, their flu virus. And so, most of the time what will happen is that the person may get infected that is handling that bird but that flu virus as not adapted well enough to the new species so that it is maintained. So, it's... We call that a restricted host pattern basically. So, it has a restricted or limited species specificity.

0:09:15.3 DD: Okay. And while we're on flu, just... We'll take a little... I want to take a little cul-de-sac turn, which is, talk about how flu viruses are named. because they're very confusing for people, because there's always an H and an N, and what exactly are we talking about there?

0:09:32.3 DL: So, influenza, when you look at the proteins of influenza, there are three envelope glycoproteins. And just to make that simple is the envelope is basically the layer around the virus that protects the internal proteins as well as the genome. And so, it's actually a membrane, part of the cell membrane that the flu virus takes with when it buds out of the cell. And so, within that membrane, flu puts three of its own proteins, and two of these proteins one is called the hemagglutinin, the other one is called the neuraminidase are kind of the primary two proteins and they're like little spikes. So, I'm sure the people have seen now, seen all these pictures of coronavirus. Flu has similar, it's not the same spikes but flu has similar spikes. So, when you look at the flu you can kind of under very high magnification, you can kind of see those envelope glycoprotein sticking out. And so, the hemagglutinin which is what the H stands for comes in different kind of varieties.

0:10:30.8 DL: So, it comes in what we call subtypes. And so, these subtypes are somewhat different in terms of how they look and they often... So, the... For influenza we have 16 subtypes, or actually technically 18 subtypes but two of these subtypes 17 and 18 are only found in bats. And then in contrast or similarly the neuraminidase which the N stands for also comes in subtypes and those subtypes are named or numbered from 1-11. Again, the two last one so 10 and 11 are only found in bats which are kind of special. So, the reason why we give that numbering system is because then it characterizes somewhat the genetic feature but also the antigenicity because between the subtypes there's not a lot of cross-reactivity when you have antibodies. So, for example, if you've ever been infected with an H1N1 subtype virus and you get exposed, for example, to an H3N2 virus you have very little protection. There's not a lot of cross-reactivity between antibodies between these subtypes. So that's where kind of in short where these numbering systems come from.

0:11:49.7 DD: Okay. And you talked a little... We'll probably get back to that again, but you talked a little bit about this, but can you elaborate on what flu types are species-specific? Which domestic animals are affected by influenza viruses? And then maybe who shares their viruses a little? I know that's a big question, but... [chuckle]

0:12:14.8 DL: Yeah. Well, I'm not sure that I would say... The species specific would probably have to be taken a little bit with a grain of salt. Because there's always the possibility that flu viruses transmit from species to species. Now, one of the species that has for many, many years been thought of as being what we call a dead-end host, basically where flu viruses just stay within that species and don't transmit from that species to another was the horse. So, we always thought for many, many years that horses were kind of dead-end hosts and they have their own flu viruses and they don't go anywhere. Now, that has been kind of disproven in 2004 with the emergence of the first canine influenza virus which was an H3N8 so there's that numbering system again which actually came from horses. And so, flu does have certain species where the transmission probably doesn't happen as commonly, and then certain species where we see transmission happen fairly frequently. And that's for example, the pig and people. So, we do see swine flu viruses fairly commonly infect humans and the reverse also has been shown.

0:13:27.7 DL: And the reason for that is because we... There are some similarities in terms of the cells that pigs, for example, express in their respiratory tract, versus what people express in their respiratory tracts. So, they're much closer to each other than for example, if you throw birds or horses in the mix. So, these cells are a little bit different they have different receptors and remember that I said before viruses usually the reason why they can jump species is because they can use the same or a similar receptor in the new species. And so, flu uses the same receptor but it has a little bit different characteristics in terms of how it looks like, and so bird flu likes the receptor that bird respiratory cells or gastrointestinal cells express while human and swine flu likes the receptor that pigs and people express.

0:14:17.3 DD: And I think everybody... Well, I hate to... I'm going to age myself because I remember the first swine flu, real concern in the late '70s, and then of course we had another one, what, about a decade ago, where...

0:14:28.9 DL: 2009, yes.

0:14:31.5 DD: There was concern. Pigs and people, I guess we are [laughter] more similar than we'd like to think about. So, take a little deeper look at, and tell me... We're talking about flus... Viruses jumping. But... And you talked about cells and cell affinity. Tell me more about how their... First of all, they transmit their... They come into new species. And then how do we actually transmit flu from animal to animal?

0:15:06.5 DL: So, within the new species... So, often, and probably the only real exception too in terms of transmission, is probably the birds. The birds, and birds especially in the wild waterfowl, influenza likes to replicate pretty... To pretty high levels in the gastrointestinal tract. And that usually for the other flu viruses is not the case. For humans, for example, we replicate flu primarily in our upper respiratory tract, sometimes it doesn't actually even go that far into the lungs usually, and so we typically spread influenza through either obviously direct contact, so we stand next to each other and I cough and there's respiratory droplets that fly from me to you. Obviously indirect contact, so if I touch my nose and I have flu on my hands subsequently touching, for example, the grocery store cart is always a good example or the good old-fashioned telephone. And so, then that surface is contaminated and the next person that obviously gets in contact with that surface can also get infected. So, we do tend to think about respiratory droplets as being important and then obviously indirect contact through fomites is usually the two biggest ways to transmit influenza.

0:16:27.8 DL: Now in contrast to COVID, influenzas probably doesn't transmit very much through aerosols. So, for many years, we thought or... And you'll read that in the literature as well, that when the modes of transmission are listed for influenza it says aerosol transmission, and that probably has to take a little... Be taken with a little grain of salt. It does tend to transmit very effectively through large droplets, so big droplets that again coughing and sneezing is generated. But the aerosol are small droplets that tend to travel very far and actually tend to stay suspended in the air for a long period of time, and there's probably limited spread with aerosols when it comes to the flu.

0:17:10.7 DD: Okay, that's good to know. How long... Do you know how long flu survives on a countertop or a surface?

0:17:18.8 DL: Yeah, depends a bit on the environmental conditions. So that's where some of these studies are a little bit hard to kind of say, "Well, this is how... " If you have a desk, for example, that's contaminated or the telephone. How long is it going to stay contaminated because it depends. Is it inside, for example, is it outside? What is the humidity? What is the temperature, etcetera, etcetera. There are some studies that looked at and most people think if you're kind of mean or median range is about two days. Again, if it's an outside surface it's probably the way less than that, if it's a dry surface it's less than that, if it's wet and cold, usually probably more than that. So again, as I said, it just depends a little bit on the environment.

0:18:06.0 DD: Okay, so be careful of the bathroom, that's what I had always heard a little bit. When you go into the bathroom if there's water on the sink, and then I didn't know if that was an old wife's tale but maybe not. Luckily, our animals probably aren't in the bathrooms that we share at work all the time. Are some... This is maybe a dopey question. But are some... Do influenza have similar transmission as far as virulence through transmission, or does their virulence and we go, "Oh, this is a bad flu strain," really just have to do with clinical signs, versus contagiousness I guess?

0:18:42.0 DL: That's a really good question, actually, that is not completely known to some degree. So, there is probably, so there's definitely virulence to individual strains. And as you probably know, so when it comes to the bird flu that's currently circulating, for example, in, well actually in the United States but very much in Colorado currently, that we consider to be a very high virulence strain. So that's, what we call a high pathogenicity avian influenza virus. So, these are very, very bad viruses. They do tend to behave biologically different than the, what we consider low path viruses. So, all of the human flu strains are considered to be low pathogenicity viruses. And the difference really between the two is that the high path viruses they do tend to replicate pretty much anywhere in the body they can. And obviously the low path as we just said before, usually stays within the respiratory tract.

0:19:37.2 DL: Now what the differences are between the individual strains, like of low path viruses, for example, because sometimes you have less virulent or less bad flu seasons than other years that is not completely known. So probably to some degree it probably depends to some degree of how to what tighter the virus can replicate. So how well it can replicate within the individual. It probably also depends on co-factor. So, I do think, seeing for example, this season where there's other respiratory viruses that probably, those are probably co-factors of why certain seasons are worse than others. But there's a, again, there's some of it is actually not known and there's definitely things that go back to some of the gene segments of how the gene segments, certain gene segments seem to have certain things that make it, make the virus possibly a bit more virulent than others.

0:20:34.2 DD: Okay. So, here's the million dollar question then, because you brought this up earlier. If we have 18 variations of the.

0:20:43.5 DL: H.

0:20:44.3 DD: H and 12 of the N neuraminidase, why can't we make a vaccine? Why has this been so elusive, I think not just in humans, but in veterinary medicine as well?

0:20:56.6 DL: Yeah, that's also a really good question. So, the reason for that is when the body sees the hemagglutinin or the neuraminidase protein, it sees typically builds antibodies against a portion that the virus tends to change. So, we kind of, again, I alluded earlier to the fact that the virus has initially came from birds and then established itself in different species and then is changing within that species. And so that's called antigenic drift. And so antigenic drift basically means that it's, it changes in the antigenic sites of the protein that the body sees. And so, what the problem with the vaccines are is that we typically develop vaccines that are based on a particular H, not even just subtype but a different, a particular strain. Now, as you probably know, for example, in humans because humans are one of the species that flu tends to drift very quickly.

0:21:54.8 DL: And so, in humans, we typically have to replace the previous vaccines with a new vaccine every year. And the reason for that is, again, because of that antigenic drift that happens within the antigenic sites. Now, if you have, if you kind of follow some of the science in influenza and probably you have read some of the newspaper articles, there has been a push over the last few years to create the, what's called a universal vaccine. And that universal vaccine is targeted against a portion of the hemagglutinin protein that is not typically doesn't change very much. The reason why that's difficult is because again it's not the dominant site that the antibodies typically are directed to. And so, it's actually very difficult to create a vaccine against that particular portion that the body will build a strong immunity to. And so, it's a challenge overall. Now the good news is if you're a horse, for example, while fluid tends to change in the horse it changes much slower. So, our vaccines are typically better for longer periods of time than in humans.

0:23:05.4 DD: Okay, and that actually is good because I wanted to ask you to, because I know this is on everybody's mind who's listening is what can pet owners, and I'm going to put horses in pet companion animals, what can we do to keep our animals safe? I know there's been buzz around canine flu this this year and of course you mentioned horses and we're inside because it's cold. What can people do?

0:23:36.9 DL: Yeah, it's a similar thing to what we can do as humans honestly. First of all, certainly if you have a horse that travels or lives in a barn where lots of horses travel, where they have contact with other horses that we don't know what they've been exposed to, the best, probably one of the best ways, certainly for influenzas to use vaccines. And so, for flu vaccines we do tend to vaccinate horses at least twice a year. Again, depends a little bit on the risk of exposure. So, if you have a horse that stays at home, doesn't really have contact to the outside world and you don't have as the owner doesn't have contact with many horses, you probably don't need to vaccinate as frequently or technically at all. But again, if you have a horse that has exposure vaccination definitely is probably one of the primary ways to protect your horse against at least disease.

0:24:34.4 DL: Maybe not infection, but disease. Now there's obviously other things that we can do, which again, kind of goes back and we've learned that all through COVID. There's a lot of non-pharmaceutical interventions which are basically if you have a horse, you go to show A, make sure obviously, hopefully that your horse is healthy and hopefully everybody else makes sure to bring their horses only when they're healthy. And then obviously try to prevent any kind of the indirect spread that can happen. While direct as well, don't allow the horse to have nose to nose contact with another horse that you don't know it's history from. Do not allow to use, for example, the same bucket as the other person that has watered their horse. And now you're like, oh, my horse is thirsty too, you're going to take the same bucket. So, those are things that we can certainly do as well. So good biosecurity measures in addition to, updated vaccines or frequent vaccines are your best way to protect your horse against influenza.

0:25:31.5 DD: Okay. And what about dogs? It's probably going to be similar. So, if they go to doggy daycare, if they're show dogs, maybe think about vaccinating them?

0:25:42.0 DL: Yeah, it's the same thing I would say. So, the vaccination is certainly, I think one of the dog populations that typically is probably very commonly affected are shelter dogs and those guys, they're in the stress situation. They have other confounding factors, other parasites or other viruses that circulate. So, shelter dogs are definitely at high risk. Certainly, boarding facilities, veterinary hospitals, those are places where you're more likely to have your dog exposed. Obviously dog parks. Now dog parks are in the open environments are probably a little bit less of a concern, but still dogs have nose to nose contact and the answer is the same thing, try to A, don't take your dog to a dog park if it's coughing or sneezing, that don't, obviously if it's sick, do not allow it to have contact with other dogs. And then vaccinations are again, are a good way to prevent dogs from getting influenza as well.

0:26:39.6 DD: All right. That's really good advice. So quick sidebar, we haven't mentioned cats. Do cats get flu and also could they pick it up from a dog in the house or would they be kind of a dead end host? Like does anybody know that?

0:26:57.4 DL: Yeah, so cats do get flu. Interestingly, cats have been found to actually have gotten a number of different flu viruses, mostly actually. So avian, a high path avian influenza, has been shown to infect cats as well. Which it, again, it does infect can infect more sporadically, so it's not maintained within the cat, but it can again, on occasion spread from a bird to a cat. The other viruses that have been shown to infect cats are human viruses, especially H1N1 human flu has been shown to infect cats as well. Now canine flu not so much so, so there's not as much of a concern for cats getting canine influenza. Now the interesting thing is that cats really don't have their own lineage, so they're not considered to be a maintenance host. But they do get occasionally infected by viruses that just happen to jump on kind of on a sporadic basis. So, it's not something that we typically worry too much about larger outbreaks in cats.

0:27:58.2 DD: Okay, that's good because I think, I don't know if you get this question, but I got this in practice a lot, not necessarily like cats sneeze, because they get upper respiratory, they have their own upper respiratory viruses and people would go, oh, is my cat got my cold, or just my cat have my flu or the dog flu. And my knee jerk response had usually been, no, that is probably one of their other respiratory viruses and maybe their stress in the household, but it sounds like they could, but probably it's not a big concern.

0:28:30.2 DL: Yeah, it's not a huge concern. Again, I think I would be more, if my dog has the flu, I would be probably less worried about the cat. If I myself have the flu, I would be maybe a little bit more worried about the cat. But it's usually not, it's usually not, a terrible disease that they will get, they may get some mild clinical signs, kind of what we similar like what we saw with COVID and dogs. So COVID also could infect dogs, but usually the clinical science that dogs develop were not that terrible. They may have some respiratory signs but are not that bad and that's kind of similar in cats and flu.

0:29:08.0 DD: So, tell us a little bit about your research because I know from Morris we've funded sort of some dog shelter work, but obviously you do equine work too. So, what are you working on right now? What are you, what are some of the things that are interesting for you at this moment with flu viruses? 

0:29:28.7 DL: So, the interesting thing is I actually don't have currently any ongoing research with influenza. I do more currently. I have a, as I said, I have an interest in infectious disease in general. So, my primary, so what we've done were infectious disease surveillance studies in especially rescue animals because I do think like the shelter dog, I think the rescue horses are kind of places where we see a lot of transmission of infectious disease processes or pathogens I guess. And also where we probably have to some degree maintenance of some of these disease processes. So, we did do a number of studies looking at, basically just surveillance studies, looking what's out there and actually mostly focusing on equine herpes viruses. So, a little bit of a different kind of animal. What I've done in the previous, previously, what Morris actually had founded in the past was, and that was used to be my primary focus when it came to research was the cross-species transmission. So, looking at why was it possible for an equine flu to get into horses. And then the second study was really focused more on the disease ecology of influenza in within the shelter population. So that was a project that was really focused on dog, on shelter dogs.

0:30:48.4 DD: So, what are some of the big questions still out there when we are talking about flu? Because obviously it's been around a long time, people have studied it in people and animals, but it seems like it's still a mystery in some ways. What are some of the big things we don't know?

0:31:08.5 DL: Yeah, so I think one of the biggest mysteries, when it comes whether there's a lot of actually mysteries out there that we still, despite the fact that we've known the flu for a very long period of time have really not figured out yet. And I think one of the biggest one is certainly the species specificity of like, why can certain viruses jump? Why do certain viruses jump and others don't? So that's a big, there's a lot of stuff that is known we know a lot more than 50 years ago, but the fact is that there are still questions out there. And one of the things that I have certainly learned while working with the flu and having interest in influenza is that flu always happens to surprise you. You think one thing happens and then something else, like for example, for me one of the surprising things was with equine influenza that jumped into dogs.

0:31:56.4 DL: First of all, that was a very unusual situation. And then the fact that this actually, this virus, this H3N8 virus has mostly disappeared again from the US stock population which is really interesting because initially it's spread and it certainly had still sufficient hosts available but now it's mostly gone, it never spread to Canada, never spreads to Mexico, which is really weird. And so based on that, I think, so that's a big area obviously of research. And the second one is how do we prevent it better and how do we treat it? So, there's obviously, as I mentioned previously, there's a fair bit of interest in, looking into universal vaccines and then also antiviral treatments and something that will last and not just something that lasts for a year and then it has to be redone basically. So those are probably be the biggest area of research. And then there's obviously a lot of things about, the more the molecular and nitty gritty that goes on, where people have interest in which, is not necessarily, not always immediately applicable to treatment and prevention of influenza, but certainly the two big ones are vaccines, antivirals as well as species specificity.

0:33:12.1 DD: Yeah. So can you take a, and I know this is asking a lot, but can you, again, I'm going down a little cul-de-sac here. Talk a little bit about the use of antivirals in animals with flu because a full disclosure here, when I was in practice and we first saw flu, because I was in practice when the first canine influenza hit, I mean we just did supportive care to get these patients through and a lot of them made it, they were pretty sick. But I sometimes get people asking me about like, Tamiflu and what's the utility in animals if at all and throw horses in there too. [laughter]

0:33:52.0 DL: Well, so I don't think that any of the antivirals have huge utility in animals because in most cases, again, as what you described, most animals and actually frankly most people with supportive care usually get through an influenza infection. It will maybe take a little bit of time to get back on your feet, but in most cases, it's a nuisance. It's annoying, but it doesn't kill you. Now antivirals I think have primarily, at least on the human side, they're really, they're, function comes into more complicated cases in people that have preexisting conditions that are at risk for severe complications, obviously. The antivirals have been used in animals. They have been used in dogs as well as in horses on occasion. And I think it's usually, again, maybe in very valuable animals or possibly immune compromised animals.

0:34:52.7 DL: There is very little data of whether it's actually useful or not. From my point of view, I always feel like I don't, in a normal animal like that it's healthy otherwise and now has the flu, I would not recommend using antivirals. To some degree, there is also concern that overuse of certain antivirals in animals possibly could have especially if, let's say you have a virus that's being... Let's say you have a dog that is being treated with antivirals. As with vaccines, flu tends to develop resistance pretty quickly to antivirals as well. And so, let's say that virus ends up going into either a different dog or a person and now you have a possibly antiviral resistant virus that spreads. And so certainly there's a bit of a concern as well that that's maybe not good use, like with antibiotics where we don't want to overuse antibiotics I think that's the same thing for antivirals.

0:35:53.7 DD: Okay. Well, we're running out of time. This is so fun. So, if you had to pick a take home message for our listeners about flu viruses and animals, what would you want people to remember?

0:36:08.2 DL: Well, I think the big thing from my point of view when it comes to influenza is that it is a disease that's out there and is going to continue to be out there. It's a disease that can certainly, especially in our animal species in this country, I think that there's ways to prevent the disease from either occurring clinically or from actually being significant in terms of the health effect. And that's through good biosecurity measures and also through vaccinations. So, I do think, obviously again, it's one of those viruses at least we have some tools against it. And so I think we should employ those tools because certainly if you have an older animal or it has other health concerns and it gets the flu, that disease can be more significant in terms of its, effects on the overall health on the animal. And so, I think that that's my, the take home. And that to some degree obviously applies to humans as well.

0:37:07.0 DD: Well thanks a bunch. So that does it for this episode of Fresh Scoop, and once again, thanks to Dr. Landolt for joining us. We'll be back with another episode next month that we hope you'll find just as informative and as we know, the science of animal health is ever changing. We need cutting edge research information, whether we're treating patients as veterinary caregivers or as pet parents. And that's why of course we're here. You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast and Stitcher. And if you like today's episode, we'd sure appreciate it if you could take a moment to rate us, that will help others find our podcast. To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation's work, of course, go to There you'll see just how we bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter. Yes, we're still there. And Instagram and I'm Dr. Kelly Diehl and we'll talk soon.