MAPLE GROVE, Minn. - There was a lot of excitement when Good Karma Animal Rescue of Minnesota helped save more than 50 dogs and cats from Houston shelters following hurricane Harvey, but not all of animals have had a smooth transition out of their foster homes.
"We have some health concerns," said Lisa Booth, founder of Good Karma. "We have some dogs that are sick that are being treated right now and they're not going to be listed for adoption until we're comfortable that they're completely healthy."
Booth says that kind of precaution is always part of their protocol. After the animals got cleaned up at Bubbly Paws Dog Washing, they were quarantined by their foster parents for at least ten days, to help catch any diseases that might not have shown up initially. She says the process is even more critical because many of the diseases aren't native to Minnesota and aren't easily identified.
"I think that there's a well-founded concern from citizens that are worried that we are bringing in contagious diseases or illnesses or contagious dogs into the state," Booth said. "That could impact the overall health of the animals that are already in Minnesota."
The concern isn't just from citizens. Minnesota's Board of Animal Health released an advisory saying the recent "recent evacuation of dogs and cats into Minnesota from the southern United States... places Minnesota's domestic animal population at risk for disease outbreaks. It also highlighted an "increase in the number of companion animals with diseases typically endemic to the southern United States".
According to the Board of Animal Health, the threat also underscores the need for animals to receive Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) if they are moved across state lines.
If you are looking to adopt one of these animals, Booth says that's the very least you should look for.
"I just want to stress, this (CVI) doesn't certify that the the animal is healthy or that the animal isn't incubating some disease that we might find out about in a week," Booth said.
She says local vets should also examine the animals on arrival, and that's also good advice it you're just concerned about what your current pet might be exposed to.
"I think anybody that already has a dog in Minnesota should make sure their animal is up to date on all vaccines," Booth said. "A lot of these conditions that people are worried about are easily preventable if your dog is vaccinated."
Some of the diseases that might be brought to Minnesota from southern states include skin conditions, fungal diseases, infections, various flea and tick borne diseases, and heart worms.