Minnesota Board of Animal Health Releases New Guidance for Canine Influenza Outbreak

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has released new guidance for dog owners, shelters, and veterinarians as cases of the contagious canine influenza continue to rise.[0] The Board recommends that dog owners avoid their dog having contact with other dogs, including at dog parks, and keeping their pet at home if they're sick. To ensure the health and safety of all dogs, it is important for dog boarding and day care facilities to isolate dogs showing symptoms of respiratory diseases and promptly send them home.[1] For more information on the virus or to report a case of confirmed canine influenza, please visit bah.state.mn.us.[2]

According to the guidance, dog owners should prevent their pets from making contact with other dogs outside of the household and those that boarded, attended, or visited a daycare in the last seven days. Pets that are sick or exhibiting symptoms should not socialize with other animals and must stay at home. Dog owners are being urged by the Board of Animal Health to refrain from allowing their dogs to have direct contact with other dogs outside of their household. Additionally, they are advised to keep any dogs that display visible signs of illness at home and away from other animals. People should keep six feet away from places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks.

The canine influenza outbreak in Minnesota has resulted in a number of cases and has led to the closure of several animal shelters. The Animal Humane Society closed three busy adoption centers on April 9 due to the outbreak and quarantined nearly 200 dogs.[3] The introduction of canine influenza to AHS facilities was likely due to animals that were brought from another facility, according to investigators.[4] Veterinary staff say seven dogs had to be put down after being deemed too sick to recover from canine influenza.[3] Four more cases of the virus 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.[5]

Symptomatic dogs often exhibit a cough, low-grade fever, tiredness, disinterest in food, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Flu-like symptoms are typically mild in nature. Most common are coughing, retching, and decreased appetite.[6] If the condition intensifies, the dog could experience symptoms such as a high body temperature or respiratory infection known as pneumonia.[6]

Canine influenza doesn’t infect people, but take care to keep your hands washed to help minimize the potential spread to other dogs.[7] Infected dogs typically end up with a cough and a runny nose and may feel depressed or feverish, much like when we get the flu. Regrettably, our puppies lack established immunity against this infection, thus making any dog that comes into contact with other dogs vulnerable to the disease.[7] Contaminated surfaces, such as clothing and skin, can also transmit canine influenza.[8] In case your dog is unwell or you come in contact with dogs not from your home, it is advisable to wash your hands and change your attire before engaging with other animals.[9]

As for care facility or shelter staff, they should be on alert for the clinical manifestations of the disease.[10] Symptomatic dogs should be immediately separated from others, and cleaning and disinfection measures should be increased.[11] The Walk for Animals is set for Saturday, May 6, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.[9] Even if their pups can't make it, dog owners are urged to attend.[4] The organization has announced some changes to its annual Walk For Animals fundraiser, and this year the event will take place without dogs in an effort to limit the spread of canine flu.[12] Other pets will still be allowed to attend.[13]

The Board of Animal Health is also recommending that dog day cares, shelters, and kennels take extra precautions, like screening incoming animals for upper respiratory symptoms, increasing cleaning frequency, and immediately isolating any sick dogs. They should also practice good biosecurity in their clinics, isolating dogs with respiratory illness and cleaning and disinfecting their equipment and working surfaces. Full personal protective equipment or PPE should be worn when treating patients who have been confirmed to have the illness.[14]

One of the biggest suggestions from the Board is to limit exposure to other dogs and avoid dog parks, boarding facilities, and doggy daycare. Dog owners are advised to go with an in-home dog sitter, if possible.[15] But veterinarians are optimistic that the situation could improve if dog owners follow isolation recommendations and good hygiene.[16] By limiting exposure to dog parks, boarding facilities, and doggy daycare, owners can make a big difference in preventing the spread of canine influenza.[16]

0. “Canine Influenza Outbreak Prompts New State Guidelines and Changes to Walk for Animals Event” ccxmedia.org, 27 Apr. 2023, https://ccxmedia.org/news/canine-influenza-outbreak-prompts-new-state-guidelines-and-changes-to-walk-for-animals-event/

1. “State confirms four new cases of canine influenza in the Twin Cities” Star Tribune, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-dogs-canine-influenza-outbreak-twin-cities-hennepin-county/600270364/

2. “Minnesota Board of Animal Health releases new guidance for pet owners to combat spread of canine influenza virus” ABC 6 News KAAL TV, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.kaaltv.com/news/minnesota-board-of-animal-health-releases-new-guidance-for-pet-owners-to-combat-spread-of-canine-influenza-virus

3. “Due to canine flu, dogs not allowed at Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals” CBS News, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/canine-flu-dogs-not-allowed-animal-humane-society-walk-for-animals

4. “Dogs asked to stay home for AHS ‘Walk for Animals'” KARE11.com, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.kare11.com/article/news/health/dogs-asked-to-stay-home-for-ahs-walk-for-animals/89-41c771a5-c9bf-4cd7-9f31-72f1e1af523b

5. “Pet owners urged to not visit dog parks as canine flu spreads in Minnesota” Yahoo Life, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/pet-owners-urged-not-visit-032200444.html

6. “Westmoreland sees outbreak of ‘dog flu' | News | dailycourier.com” Front Page, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.dailycourier.com/news/westmoreland-sees-outbreak-of-dog-flu/article_d175d328-e5e2-11ed-959f-5b5811edd99d.html

7. “Veterinary Viewpoints: Fido can get the flu, too” Oklahoma State University, 24 Apr. 2023, https://news.okstate.edu/articles/veterinary-medicine/2023/veterinary_viewpoints_fido_can_get_the_flu_too.html

8. “Canine influenza cases on the rise across the Twin Cities” Limitless Production Group LLC, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.limitlessproductiongroup.com/midwestnews/canineinfluenza

9. “Humane Society’s ‘Walk for Animals’ to proceed without pooches due to canine flu” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.twincities.com/2023/04/27/humane-societys-walk-for-animals-mn-state-fairgrounds-canine-flu

10. “Dog Flu Outbreak: Minnesota Releases New Guidelines As Cases Pile Up” Medical Daily, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.medicaldaily.com/dog-flu-outbreak-minnesota-releases-new-guidelines-cases-pile-469569

11. “More canine influenza cases reported in the Twin Cities” MPR News, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/04/28/canine-influenza-cases-reported-in-minnesota-twin-cities

12. “Animal Humane Society's ‘Walk for Animals' will have no dogs” ECM Publishers, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/animal-humane-society-s-walk-for-animals-will-have-no-dogs/article_3833dfb8-e5c2-11ed-9335-d72fe4e41615.html

13. “Humane Society's 2023 ‘Walk for Animals' to be held without dogs due to canine influenza” KSTP, 26 Apr. 2023, https://kstp.com/kstp-news/local-news/humane-societys-2023-walk-for-animals-to-be-held-without-dogs-due-to-canine-influenza

14. “Canine influenza: Tips for preventing its spread” FOX 29 Philadelphia, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.fox29.com/news/canine-influenza-tips-for-preventing-its-spread

15. “Veterinarians work to prevent canine influenza from spreading, encourage dog owners to take caution” KARE11.com, 30 Apr. 2023, https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/veterinarians-work-prevent-canine-influenza-spreading-encourage-dog-owners-to-take-caution/89-226c1e40-bde8-4d15-a37a-04ace89b6bf5

16. “Canine Influenza Outbreak: Which Dogs Are More At Risk?” Medical Daily, 1 May. 2023, https://www.medicaldaily.com/canine-influenza-outbreak-which-dogs-are-more-risk-469596

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