AHC News and Updates

US Detections of H5N1 in Dairy Cattle

As of July 22, 2024, Highly pathogenic avian influenza – HPAI (H5N1) has been detected in 168 dairy cattle herds in 13 states in the US. See USDA map.

There have been no cases detected to date in Canadian dairy cattle.

Animal Health Canada with its divisions have been working closely with government, industry, veterinary associations, regional/national surveillance partners, and laboratorians on the situation.

As this is an evolving issue, we will continue to work with our members and share the most up-to-date information as we receive them on this page.

Please refer to our resources list at the bottom of the page for the most updated resources.

E-mail us at info@animalhealthcanada.ca if you have any inquiries.


July 16, 2024

As part of the Government of Canada's One Health approach, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada is taking proactive measures to monitor Canadian dairy cows for HPAI.

Milk sampling and testing results
As of July 16, 2024, CFIA laboratories tested 911 retail milk samples from across Canada. All samples have tested negative for HPAI fragments, with no evidence of disease in dairy cattle detected in milk. More.


June 26, 2024

 

Animal Health Canada worked with the Dairy Farmers of Canada to create a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) biosecurity infographic for dairy farmers that highlights biosecurity, prevention, surveillance and containment recommendations. Find it here.

 


June 18, 2024

Milk sampling and testing results
As of June 18, 2024, CFIA laboratories tested 600 retail milk samples from across Canada. All samples have tested negative for HPAI fragments, with no evidence of disease in dairy cattle detected in milk. More.


June 17, 2024

Information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA):

The Guidance for private veterinarians for HPAI in cattle has been updated to include:

  • Until further notice, CFIA will cover the fees for laboratory testing at any CAHSN laboratory that is approved to test samples in domestic animals. CFIA does not pay for associated veterinary fees for sample collection or shipment to the lab.
  • All non-clinical dairy cattle will now be eligible for testing. A milk sample is required for lactating dairy cattle and a nasal swab is required for non-lactating dairy cattle.
  • For suspect case submissions, the private veterinarian is required to report negative test results back to the district office upon receipt.

May 31, 2024 update

Information from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

New web content to provide information and resources in response to the rapidly evolving Avian Influenza A(H5N1) situation in Canada is now available.

No cases in humans or dairy cattle have been detected in Canada and the risk to humans remains low.

The Government of Canada is working closely with provinces/territories, industry and international partners to actively monitor, prepare for and respond to the evolving A(H5N1) situation using a One Health approach.
The ongoing federal response to protect the health of people and animals in Canada includes:

  • risk assessments
  • laboratory capacity and testing
  • monitoring and surveillance
  • science coordination
  • guidance for health professionals and others in Canada
  • medical readiness, such as vaccines and antivirals

Learn more about Canada’s preparedness and response: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/avian-influenza-h5n1/canada-response.html


May 24, 2024

Notice to industry: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI or H5N1) in dairy herds in the USA - Export certificate for immediate slaughter

Due to the outbreak of HPAI (H5N1) in dairy cattle in the USA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will require an export certificate for lactating dairy cattle imported from the USA for immediate slaughter. This will apply as of May 24, 2024. Read more.

Milk sampling and testing results
CFIA laboratories tested 303 retail milk samples from across Canada. All samples have tested negative for HPAI fragments, with no evidence of disease in dairy cattle detected in milk.
More.


May 23, 2024

CFIA laboratories tested 303 retail milk samples from across Canada. All samples have tested negative for HPAI fragments, with no evidence of disease in dairy cattle detected in milk.

More: https://inspection.canada.ca/en/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/latest-bird-flu-situation/commercial-milk-sampling-and-testing-hpai-vira

Mental Health supports for veterinarians

This may be a time of increased stress and anxiety for veterinarians as they discuss and prepare for HPAI with their clients.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's incoming Director of Wellness, Dr. Kathy Keil, has offered the following resources for those who feel that they may be beneficial to them:

The CVMA website outlines supports available to Canadian veterinarians:
https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/veterinary-resources/veterinary-health-and-wellness-resources/mental-health-awareness-resources/who-ya-gonna-call/

CVMA also offers an anonymous and confidential peer-to-peer online community for all Canadian veterinarians and student veterinarians through Togetherall. ABVTA now offers this online service for AB RVTs too. This community is an opportunity for veterinarians to reach out to their peers to share a situation or an issue where they need a peer to listen, offer support and guidance. The community has 24/7/365 oversight with a licensed mental health professional for additional safety.
https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/veterinary-resources/veterinary-health-and-wellness-resources/togetherall/


May 15, 2024 update

The Guidance for private veterinarians for HPAI in cattle has been updated to include information on sampling non-clinical animals.

View it here: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/latest-bird-flu-situation/hpai-in-livestock/hpai-in-cattle-guidance/eng/1713359283777/1713359284558

CFIA laboratories tested 142 retail milk samples from across Canada. To date, all samples have tested negative for HPAI fragments, with no evidence of disease in dairy cattle detected in milk.

More: https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/latest-bird-flu-situation/commercial-milk-sampling-and-testing-for-hpai-vira/eng/1715705614103/1715705707609


May 9, 2024 update

On May 9, 2024, the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) division held a virtual webinar for veterinarians and veterinary professionals on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle. With 285 people in attendance, it allowed for an update on the current situation, discussion on the national collaborative approach among federal/provincial governments and industry, an update on the CFIA guidance document for the private practitioner, and recommendations on how to support producer clients. CAHSS and AHC would like to thank the speakers of the event for taking the time to provide their expertise.

The webinar recording is available on the CAHSS YouTube channel.


May 3, 2024 update

The Government of Canada provides an update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

In addition to the robust protective measures that already exist, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with stakeholders, is expanding its surveillance to manage the possible emergence of HPAI in Canada by:

Read the full statement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada herehttps://www.canada.ca/en/food-inspection-agency/news/2024/05/the-government-of-canada-provides-an-update-on-the-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza.html


May 1, 2024 update

Due to the outbreak of HPAI (H5N1) in dairy cattle in the USA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will require an addendum to the export certificate of cattle imported under the import policy Requirements for Breeding Cattle Imported from the United States to Canada. 

This will apply to export certificates issued on or after April 29, 2024, and until further notice

Read herehttps://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/diseases/reportable/avian-influenza/latest-bird-flu-situation/notice-to-industry-2024-04-30/eng/1714506857779/1714506967032


April 25, 2024 update

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a Federal Order requiring pre-movement testing and reporting of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in livestock.

You can find the Federal Order here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/dairy-federal-order.pdf

and additional information on the situation in the United States here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock 


April 19, 2024 update

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released a guidance document for Canadian veterinarians to consider related to Highly pathogenic avian influenza – HPAI (H5N1) in cattle, specifically related to collecting and submitting samples. This guidance will be updated regularly as the situation evolves, so ensure to check back on the CFIA web page frequently for the most current recommendations.

As of April 19, 2024, HPAI has not been reported in dairy cattle or other livestock in Canada. The CFIA is monitoring the situation closely. For more information, refer to their website on Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock.

Veterinarians should be on the look out for the following:

  • A sudden decrease in milk (especially in older cows)
  • Thicker consistency milk, similar to colostrum
  • Little to no signs of mastitis (a negative or trace positive result from the California Mastitis Test)
  • Decrease in feed consumption
  • Drop in rumen motility
  • Dry manure or constipation (diarrhea has been observed occasionally)
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • A history of dead wild birds on the property

Veterinarians must contact their local CFIA district office and, where required, the provincial Chief Veterinary Officer if they suspect HPAI infection in cattle.


April 5, 2024 update

Our Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) division is updating its Dairy Surveillance Network page regularly to include the latest information and resources on H5N1 HPAI avian influenza. View here: https://cahss.ca/cahss-networks/dairy

Key points to date

  • H5N1 virus detections in dairy cattle have not been reported in Canada as of April 19, 2024
  • Although there's been 1 mild human case in Texas, recent testing performed on the cattle samples with HPAI in the US does not indicate that it is more transmissible to humans.
  • The Canadian dairy industry benefits from having a national quality assurance program, called proAction, with an existing strong biosecurity component to reduce the risk of introduction to herds.
  • Enhanced biosecurity is recommended to reduce the potential of H5N1 HPAI from wild birds spreading to Canadian cattle.

Recommendations

  1. Minimize/restrict access of wild birds to cattle and their environment.
  2. Restrict unnecessary movement of people and cattle on the farm.
  3. Consider feeding pasteurized colostrum or milk to calves or using colostrum/milk replacers.
  4. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling sick cattle or sick/dead birds and wash your hands afterwards.
  5. Report any increased sick/dead wild birds near the farm property to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
  6. Consult your herd veterinarian if you notice any abnormal symptoms in your dairy herd including: fever, lethargy, sudden drop in feed intake, changes in rumen motility, colostrum-like thickened milk, or sudden drop in herd level milk production.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Biosecurity

General