Dog adopted in St. Paul tests positive for canine flu

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A dog adopted from a Minnesota-based humane society tested positive for canine flu, prompting the organization to halt all adoptions and surrenders at that facility.

The Animal Humane Society said Thursday the sick dog, a Shar-Pei mix named Toga, was adopted from the St. Paul location on June 14. He'd been brought in by the city's animal control earlier this month, and showed no signs of illness.

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One day after the adoption, Toga began showing symptoms. The family brought him to a veterinarian for testing and care. On Thursday, the Board of Animal Health notified the Animal Humane Society results came back positive for H3N2 canine influenza.

It's the first known case of canine flu in the Twin Cities metro.

A second possible case has also been identified, and treatment and testing are in progress. The society is working with both families to cover the treatment and care costs.

The virus swept through Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana early this year, killing five dogs as of early April. It was the first time the strain had been seen in the United States.

While highly contagious, it didn't reach Minnesota until late May. That's when five dogs at a training and rescue facility in Detroit Lakes tested positive. All ended up fine and fully recovered.

Since March, the H3N2 strain of the canine flu has sickened more than 1,000 dogs in the Midwest, but the virus is rarely fatal, officials note.

Still, the Animal Humane Society is taking precautions.

Effective immediately, there will be no adoptions or surrenders at the St. Paul facility until it's confirmed there are no more infections there. In addition, all dogs that have kennel cough or similar symptoms are being tested for canine influenza.

The Animal Humane Society is also notifying anyone who adopted a dog from the St. Paul location in the past 30 days.

If a dog exhibits respiratory symptoms – nasal discharge, a cough that lasts for 10-21 days despite treatment, and possibly a low-grade fever – owners are encouraged to bring them to the vet.

There's been no evidence canine flu can transmit from dogs to humans, the University of Minnesota's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety says.

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