The Canine Influenza virus that’s been working its way across the Midwest has made its way into Minnesota. Why should dog owners be concerned? And what can you do to keep your own dog from coming down with it?

About a month ago, a kennel in Detroit Lakes housed an infected dog that had come in from Chicago, where a large outbreak of the virus had occurred earlier in the spring. Other dogs that were at the facility were exposed and, subsequently, came down with the virus.

Although several got sick, none of the dogs that were infected died. They did, however, test positive for several infectious diseases as a result of the virus.

The virus itself is much like a human influenza virus in terms of the symptoms. Dogs with the virus may experience a cough, runny nose and fever. More serious complications including pneumonia and, in rare instances, death, can also occur.

Detroit Lakes is a long way from Southeastern Minnesota. But we all know how quickly human influenza viruses can spread if proper precautions are not taken. And while the Canine Influenza virus has been pretty well contained in Minnesota so far, there are still things that dog owners can do to help assure that their beloved pet doesn’t fall ill.

The best way to avoid the disease is to keep your dog out of kennels and shelters. Dog parks are another place where the disease has the capability of spreading, since, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it “can spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs.”

If you do notice your dog come down with a cough, or other symptoms that could suggest an illness, set up an appointment with your veterinarian so they can be tested. Let’s keep Canine Influenza virus under control here in Minnesota!