Background The emergence of zoonotic viruses in domestic animals is a significant public health concern. Canine influenza virus (CIV) H3N2 is a virus that can infect companion animals and is, therefore, a potential public health concern.
Objective This study investigated the inter- and intraspecies transmission of CIV among dogs, cats, and ferrets, under laboratory conditions, to determine whether transmission of the virus was possible between as well as within these domestic animal species.
Method The transmission routes for inter- and intraspecies transmission were airborne and direct contact, respectively. Transmission was conducted through intranasal infection of dogs followed by exposure to either cats or ferrets and by comingling infected and naïve animals of the same species.
Results The interspecies transmission of CIV H3N2 via airborne was only observed from dogs to cats and not from dogs to ferrets. However, direct intranasal infection of either cats or ferrets with CIV could induce influenza-like clinical signs, viral shedding, and serological responses. Additionally, naïve cats and ferrets could be infected by CIV via direct contact with infected animals of the same species.
Conclusion Cats appear to be another susceptible host of CIV H3N2, whereas ferrets are not likely natural hosts. The molecular-based mechanism of interspecies and intraspecies transmission of CIV H3N2 should be further studied.