Minnesota Board of Animal Health releases new guidance for pet owners to combat spread of canine influenza virus

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is releasing new guidance for dog owners, dog care facilities, and veterinarians as it continues to track more confirmed cases of a highly contagious canine influenza virus.

Four more cases of canine influenza have been confirmed outside of the original outbreak of nearly 200 cases the Board announced on April 6 tied to animal shelters in Hennepin, Anoka and Washington counties.

The Board said there are also strong indicators of community spread of canine influenza in the Twin Cities. Additionally, the Board has been inundated with calls from veterinarians on suspected cases of canine influenza when testing is either denied or results are inconclusive.

“Unfortunately, testing for canine influenza is cost prohibitive for many dog owners, and we aren’t receiving as many confirmed positive results as the numbers of sick dogs veterinarians are reporting at their clinics,” said Senior Veterinarian in charge of Companion Animals, Dr. Veronica Bartsch. “If a dog is symptomatic and an owner elects not to test or a test comes back negative, we’re still encouraging veterinarians to treat and advise patients for canine influenza out of an abundance of caution.”

The Board says quarantines for sick dogs are in effect for approximately six weeks based on clinical signs in the dogs.

Anyone who suspects canine influenza in their dog should contact their veterinarian for guidance and care. Signs of canine influenza in dogs include sneezing, cough, discharge in the eyes or nose, and lethargy.

Canine influenza is considered a low risk to people. To date, there is no evidence of spread of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people, and there has never been a reported case of human infection with canine influenza virus in the U.S. or worldwide.

Click the associated links for guidance on canine influenza for dog owners, dog businesses, and veterinary clinics.