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No additional canine flu cases at St. Paul animal shelter

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The St. Paul animal shelter that halted adoptions and surrenders this week after an adopted dog tested positive for canine flu said Friday no other animals at the facility are infected.

The Animal Humane Society said nasal swabs done on the five other dogs exhibiting respiratory issues at the St. Paul shelter came back negative.

Adoptions and surrenders have since been resumed again.

The society stopped them on Thursday when an adopted Shar-Pei mix named Toga showed signs of the illness Monday, just a day after he'd been adopted. Toga was tested, and the Board of Animal Health said the results came back positive for H3N2 canine influenza.

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

On the Animal Humane Society Facebook page, user Matthew Carroll posted a photo of Toga, and said the dog is getting tested again Saturday.

"Hoping he is negative!" Carroll wrote.

More testing being done

Although the Animal Humane Society doesn't think the influenza got into any of its other shelters, it's taking precautions.

All dogs with kennel cough or other respiratory symptoms have been quarantined and tested for the virus. Those animals will remain quarantined until all test results come back next Tuesday.

The society says dog owners should watch for symptoms of canine influenza, which look similar to kennel cough, a far more common and less serious ailment. That includes:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

The virus' spread

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.

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