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Canine flu outbreak confirmed in Animal Humane Society shelters

Five dogs have been euthanized due to the virus, including three with other complicating health or behavior issues.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Nearly 200 dogs in the shelters are now receiving medication and supportive care, but staff say some dogs have been euthanized due to the virus.

While they expect the majority to recover, they're taking all the necessary precautions.

"This is an influenza virus that fortunately only gets dogs sick," said Dr. Graham Brayshaw, director of veterinary medicine at the Animal Humane Society.

He says recent tests confirmed the outbreak at three of their shelters in Golden Valley, Woodbury and Coon Rapids as the dominant strain of H3N2 canine influenza circulating in the U.S. this year.

"There are not that many previous cases of canine influenza diagnosed in Minnesota," he said.

Five dogs at the shelters were euthanized due to the highly contagious respiratory virus, including three with other complicating health or behavior issues.

"Symptoms associated with this is a dog coughing like a cat coughing up a hairball," he said. "Other things, they can spike a fever."

The Minnesota Animal Health Board says vaccines are in low supply, while Dr. Graham says the shelter is on full lockdown.

"The virus can be spread up to 28 days after the dog gets ill, so the first day they start coughing and showing signs, it's 28 to 30 days after that they need to quarantine," said Dr. Brayshaw.

They're planning to contain the spread, keeping these doors closed while staff treat and care for the dogs who have developed symptoms.

"This is something we will learn from and improve," he said. "We did not regularly vaccinate, because of the low numbers in the state, and that is something we will be doing down the road."

The Animal Humane Society is now asking anyone who has not yet been contacted who recently adopted a dog from the shelter since March 23 to reach out.

They're providing care at no cost to those adopters.

For more information, visit the link here


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