Health officials loosen guidance as canine influenza cases slow

Minnesota health officials are loosening their guidance around dog gatherings as cases of canine influenza have slowed in the state.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) says it has confirmed 106 cases of canine influenza across 10 counties since the outbreak began in April. However, only one case has been reported since the middle of July.

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Instead of avoiding dog parks and other dogs, BAH is now recommending owners just keep their dog away from others if they are sick or showing signs of respiratory illness. Additionally, health officials say owners should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible if their dog is sick and owners should wash hands and change clothes after interacting with a sick dog and before interacting with other animals.

“Be smart and be safe and you should definitely feel comfortable taking your pup out to play with other dogs,” senior veterinarian in charge of companion animals, Dr. Veronica Bartsch, said. “Be smart by keeping your distance from dogs that appear sick, and if it’s your dog with the sniffles, you should keep them home for 30 days. Be safe by talking to your vet about the canine influenza vaccine and if it’s the right choice for your companion.”

BAH says dog owners can help keep their pets healthy by making sure they have a steady supply of clean water, places to rest in the shade and avoid things like harmful algal blooms if playing in water. More information is available online.

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