Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is closely monitoring developments related to the strain of Influenza A (H5N1), also known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), causing an ongoing outbreak in cattle in the United States.

At this time, the disease has not yet been detected in Canada or in youngstock, however VFO continues to monitor the situation and is actively engaged with our dairy and beef sector colleagues, and government agencies.

Updates and resources will be posted here as they are made available. In addition, any significant developments related to the veal sector will be shared via email.

The information provided below must not be used in place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a health care provider or your herd veterinarian for guidance.

Advice from the Ontario Animal Health Network:

What to do if you observe mammals (livestock, animals) with abnormal signs consistent with HPAI infection:

  • Producers should report clinical signs or suspected illness in their herds to their veterinarian immediately.
  • Veterinarians are encouraged to contact their local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) animal health office if there is a high degree of suspicion of HPAI.

What to do if you find sick or dead birds or other wildlife on your property:

  • Report these findings to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) who may arrange for submission of wildlife for HPAI testing at the University of Guelph’s Animal Health Lab (AHL).
  • The phone number for the Ontario Regional Centre of the CWHC is 1-866-673-4781.

View the OAHN website here.

Industry resources 

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Veterinary Advisory: HPAI – Mammals

This advisory is being shared in response to the recent HPAI detection in mammals.

It is uncommon for HPAI to impact human health. To date, no sustained human-to-human transmission has been reported anywhere in the world. However, those who work directly with poultry and livestock should take additional precautions and follow all public health guidelines. All influenza A viruses in animals, are “immediately notifiable” in Ontario by animal laboratories under the Animal Health Act. Due to the likelihood of mutation in particular strains of influenza A (H5 and H7) in poultry, those strains are federally reportable diseases under the CFIA’s Health of Animals Act, and reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). The CFIA is the lead organization for tracking the presence of HPAI in Ontario.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Please find below links to the CFIA webpages for HPAI in livestock, and specifically a guidance document for veterinarians for HPAI in cattle.

While HPAI has not been reported in dairy cattle or other livestock in Canada, the CFIA is monitoring the U.S. situation closely. 

These web pages and guidance documents will be updated regularly, so ensure to check back frequently for the most current recommendations.

HPAI in livestock

HPAI in cattle: Guidance for private veterinarians

Notice to industry: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI or H5N1) in dairy cattle in the USA – Addendum to export certificate

Animal Health Canada

US detections of H5N1 in dairy cattle

Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System

A collection of links to U.S detections, U.S resources and Canadian resources on biosecurity recommendations.

H5N1 detections in dairy cattle in the US

Biosecurity recommendations for Canadian dairy herds

Canadian Meat Council

HPAI in dairy cattle

Ontario Ministry of Health

Learn how to recognize the symptoms of avian influenza and protect yourself from getting the virus.

Avian Influenza

Public Health Agency of Canada

Guidance on human health issues related to avian influenza in Canada

Mental health resources 

If you or anyone close to you requires support at this time, please find mental health resources available on these websites:

General resources 

Find your local Public Health Unit