Paws & Claws concerned about Canine Influenza Outbreak in Twin Cities

[anvplayer video=”5175575″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – For the first time since 2018, the Twin Cities are experiencing an outbreak of canine influenza.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health reports the outbreak started earlier this month when four cases were confirmed at an animal humane society shelter. Four more cases outside of shelters have since been identified. There have not been any confirmed cases in southeast Minnesota or northern Iowa.

Still, the outbreak is raising concerns for a local shelter.

Paws & Claws Humane Society in Rochester is taking preventative measures and is recommending people not bring their dogs to their annual Pet Walk fundraiser this Saturday.

Dr. Mike Strecker, one of the shelter’s veterinarians, says they don’t want the event to become a super spreader. Adding that canine influenza can spread similarly to Covid-19.

“So, the big thing with canine influenza is we got to limit that nose-to-nose contact,” Strecker said. “If you take preventative measures, like covid for example, wash your hands, social distancing, and don’t take your dog to the park if you think they’re sick, all that will help prevent the spread.”

Dr. Strecker also recommends getting your dog the canine influenza vaccine. But adds that you should check with your vet before scheduling an appointment because the vaccines are a little difficult to come by.

“We are lucky to have the ones we have here at the shelter,” Strecker said. “So you may have to call a different vet if you want your dog vaccinated.”

Paws & Claws annual Pet Walk is still going on as planned, but this year they’re encouraging people to bring other pets instead.

The Pet Walk begins at 10 a.m. at Cook Park. To find out how you can register, click here