Dog flu reaches state

Published 10:08 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

By Jaime DeLage

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Minnesota animal health experts say the same new strain of canine flu that sickened 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area in early April hit a small cluster of dogs in Minnesota about that same time.

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The Minnesota dogs all visited the Lucky Dog Boarding and Training Center in Detroit Lakes, Minn., about the same time as a dog from the Chicago area that showed signs of flu shortly after its visit, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. The Minnesota dogs began showing signs of illness on April 7, about a week after the Chicago dog’s visit.

Recent test results confirmed five Minnesota dogs were infected with the new strain of canine flu virus, called H3N2. All of the dogs fully recovered, and no new cases have been seen at the facility in more than a month, according to the board.

A previous strain of canine flu that is believed to have jumped from horses to dogs was identified in 2004. The new strain is believed to have adapted from bird flu in Asia.

A vaccine is available for the earlier strain of canine flu, called H3N8. While it’s not clear whether that vaccine protects against H3N2, veterinarians say vaccination is worth considering if your dog could come into close contact with other dogs at kennels or dog parks.