First cases of canine flu confirmed in MN, but officials say risk is low

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Officials have confirmed the first cases of a new strain of canine flu in Minnesota, but they want to make sure dog owners don't worry unnecessarily because the animals have since fully recovered.

The highly contagious strain of the flu was found in five dogs at a training and rescue facility in Detroit Lakes last month, but the Minnesota Board of Animal Health received official confirmation late last week, officials announced Wednesday.

“It’s important that we do not scare people,” Dr. Paul Anderson, of the state Board of Animal Health, told the Star Tribune. “This happened almost a month ago, and there is nothing going on now in Minnesota.”

Anderson told the Owatonna People's Press, “Those tests were very much after the fact, and we’re still making sense of it. It’s not something that is active today.”

The dogs who came down with the H3N2 strain are fully recovered, according to Lucky Dog Boarding and Training Center's website.

The virus is believed to have gotten to Minnesota after a dog from Illinois was brought to the facility for daycare back in April, officials say.

Lucky Dog shut down for three weeks after a few dogs came down with an upper respiratory virus, the center's website notes. The facility was cleared by local and state official in early May to continue normal operations.

No new cases of the flu have been reported at the facility since April 25, officials say.

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. If a dog exhibits respiratory symptoms owners are encouraged to bring them to the vet.

There is no risk to humans from this virus.

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