MDH: Suspected canine influenza outbreak prompts quarantines in metro animal shelters

(ABC 6 News)- The Minnesota Board of Animal Health officially quarantined an organization operating animal shelters in Hennepin, Anoka and Washington Counties this afternoon to stop the potential spread of canine influenza, a highly infectious disease in dogs.

The Board was informed of the suspected cases this morning when the organization reported nearly 200 sick dogs at its facilities. The quarantines are in effect for approximately six weeks based on clinical signs in the dogs.

“There is an approved vaccine for canine influenza, and we’ve advised the organization to vaccinate all dogs in their care.” said Senior Veterinarian in charge of companion animals, Dr. Veronica Bartsch. “The quarantine is crucial to stop the spread of the virus and monitor and treat the exposed 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.

These cases remain suspect because confirmatory testing is not complete. The quarantine and all canine influenza precautions the Board is advising are based on clinical signs and the shelter importing dogs from an Oklahoma shelter where the disease was confirmed.