Canine flu confirmed at Hawk Creek Shelter; 20 dogs under quarantine
WILLMAR—Dogs at Hawk Creek Animal Shelter are under quarantine and dog adoptions have been suspended after an outbreak of canine influenza was confirmed late last week at the shelter.
Respiratory symptoms first showed up July 7, said Bobbie Bauman, director of operations for the shelter.
By July 10, several dogs were sick, she said. Test results that came back Thursday afternoon confirmed the presence of the canine influenza virus, a highly contagious disease that can sometimes be fatal.
"Influenza is a reportable disease so the Board of Animal Health was contacted," Bauman said.
Following an inspection Friday, the shelter's dog adoption floor was shut down and 20 dogs placed under quarantine.
Shelter staff are taking additional steps to limit the spread of the canine influenza virus, Bauman said. "We're just trying to stay ahead of it," she said.
A temporary impound facility has been set up at another location for dogs brought in as strays, she said. "We'll be caring for those dogs off-site."
The shelter also has temporarily stopped accepting dogs surrendered by their owners. Pet therapy visits with shelter animals have been halted as well.
No shelter dogs have died since the outbreak began earlier this month. But of the 20 dogs under quarantine, about two-thirds have gotten sick, Bauman said.
Shelter staff have been working around the clock administering fluids and medications and providing supportive care, she said. "They get pretty sick for about 48 hours."
The dog that tested positive last week for the H3N2 strain of the canine influenza virus was a 10-month-old male border collie cross who arrived at the shelter as a stray, Bauman said.
But it's not known how the virus was carried into the shelter, she said Monday. "We don't have any idea where it came from."
An older strain of the virus, H3N8, has been found among dogs in multiple states. The H3N2 virus is a newer strain that has caused several disease outbreaks in the past two years.
H3N2 has been on the rise in Minnesota this spring and summer. According to surveillance data collected by the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, 47 cases have been confirmed in the state in the past 45 days.
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs. It also can be spread through contact with contaminated objects such as cages or food and water dishes.