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Canine Influenza in Minnesota

As of July 28th, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has reported 7 confirmed cases of canine influenza in the state of Minnesota.  The latest was a case confirmed July 25th in Brainerd.  While none are particularly close to us here in this eastern portion of the Twin Cities metro area, it certainly throws up concern for us.

Canine influenza occurs as two different strains of Influenza Type A virus, denoted as H3N8 and H3N2.  Generally the symptoms are mild, and include cough, runny nose and fever.  Some infected dogs will not even show any symptoms.  On occasion the disease may become more severe and can cause pneumonia or even death.  It is considered highly contagious and the Board of Animal Health classifies it as a reportable disease.  That means your veterinarian needs to report confirmed cases to the Board to track it in an effort to limit spread.

Because it is contagious and because not every dog will show symptoms, you need to take great care with your own dog.  Exposure to other dogs that you do not know should be minimized, particularly if you see other dogs with cough or runny nose.  So places like dog parks can be potentially hazardous to your pet.  And while you don’t need to stop taking your four legged friend to such places entirely, you should do so with caution.

There are vaccines available now for both strains of the virus.  They can be helpful in preventing the disease, but they should not be considered 100% effective.  There is still some risk that your dog could become infected, even if vaccinated.  In those situations, it is expected that the vaccinated dog will not get as sick as it might have if not vaccinated.  If you are interested in vaccinating your dog, make sure to call your veterinarian first, as not everyone carries it.

Our doctors and staff will be attending a meeting about management of the disease on Thursday evening, so our clinic will be closing early (at 5 pm) in order to attend.  Please schedule your time to come to our clinic accordingly.

If you have questions concerning the disease and your pet, feel free to call us at 651-480-1833 or email us at towncountryvet@embarqmail.com.  You may also visit the Board of Animal Health website in order to keep up to date.  Minnesota Board of Animal Health canine influenza.

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