Dog-to-dog contact discouraged amid spread of canine influenza, health officials say

Canine flu spreads in Minnesota

Canine flu spreads in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has released new guidance for pet owners on how to combat the spread of canine influenza.

The board said there are high indicators that canine influenza is spreading within the Twin Cities.

On April 6, the board announced four cases of canine influenza occurring outside of the original outbreak area, prompting animal shelters in Anoka, Hennepin and Washington counties to quarantine.

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Data from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health show there could be as many as 196 suspected cases of canine influenza in 2023.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health suggests dog owners:

  • Avoid direct dog-to-dog contact with dogs outside of your household or dogs known to have been boarded, attended dog day-care, or visited a dog park in the last seven days.
  • If your dog is sick, keep them at home, away from other animals, and call your veterinarian.
  • Consider avoiding dog parks and other locations with uncontrolled dog-to-dog contact.
  • Keep your distance (six feet) at places where dogs congregate like dog parks and while on walks with your dog.
  • Canine influenza can also spread via contaminated surfaces, including skin and clothing. If your dog is sick or you have contact with dogs outside of your household, wash your hands and change clothes before interacting with other animals.

“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,” Dr. Veronica Bartsch, the senior veterinarian in charge of companion animals, said. “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.”

To read more about canine influenza and how to protect your dog, CLICK HERE.