In Golden Valley, Woodbury, and Coon Rapids, the Animal Humane Society’s dog adoption centers are temporarily closing for three to four weeks out of concerns for canine influenza.
Lisa Bonds, the head of Animal Humane Society said Thursday a potential outbreak could be from a dog that came at one of their shelters two weeks ago.
“Over the last few days, we’ve seen an outbreak of respiratory infections in animals across our shelter and became aware that an animal that came to us on March 23 had been exposed to canine influenza. We’re acting out of an abundance of caution. None of our animals have yet tested positive,” Bonds said.
Most of the 200 dogs held at the shelters have symptoms of canine influenza, and Bonds feels certain it is the highly contagious virus even though they haven’t had a positive test yet.
“Although we’re waiting for those tests to be confirmed, we’re moving forward like it is canine influenza,” she said.
Staff will call anyone who has adopted a dog since March 23 to inform them of possible exposure.
Managing Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Sara Lewis says canine influenza is similar to human influenza. “Animals can be sick and contagious for up to three to four weeks,” she said.
It looks similar to any respiratory infection, Lewis said, and dogs may experience coughing, sneezing, and eye discharge.
It’s rare to see canine influenza in Minnesota, Lewis said. The Animal Humane Society hadn’t been vaccinating against the virus, but they begin now.