AHS adoption centers temporarily closed due to canine influenza outbreak

April 06, 2023

May 15, 2023

UPDATE: Animal Humane Society adoption centers in Coon Rapids and Golden Valley will reopen at noon on Tuesday, May 16. The Board of Animal Health has lifted its quarantine of those facilities, clearing the way for AHS to fully reopen and resume its services this week.  

Hundreds of animals waiting at AHS since April 6 will finally be available for adoption — including the nearly 200 dogs who have recovered from canine influenza and are no longer contagious. Learn more.

May 9, 2023

UPDATE: Our Woodbury location is now fully reopened as of Tuesday, May 9.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health cleared the Woodbury location to reopen after all 70 animals at the site were transferred to Golden Valley, where they will complete their recovery and quarantine period. The empty site was deep cleaned in preparation for reopening.

The nearly 40 animals that will be available for adoption on Tuesday were returned from foster care or surrendered to AHS after the quarantine was lifted.

Our Golden Valley and Coon Rapids adoption centers will remain closed until the dogs there have recovered and are no longer contagious.  Learn more.

April 10, 2023

UPDATE: Test results have now confirmed that the outbreak in our shelters is H3N2 canine influenza. Nearly 200 dogs in our shelters are receiving medication and supportive care for dog flu symptoms. Most dogs will begin to feel better after about eight days, and we expect the vast majority to fully recover. Five dogs in our care have been euthanized due to this virus, including three with other complicating health or behavior issues.

There is no current concern of this disease in our cat and critter populations.

We are working closely with the Board of Animal Health and private veterinarians to monitor any cases of canine influenza in the community. We have completed calls to everyone who adopted or received a dog from AHS since March 23 and are providing free medication and supportive care to any dogs that develop symptoms due to exposure in our shelters. We will do follow-up calls to check in with those families again later this week.

April 6, 2023

AHS is temporarily closing its adoption centers in Golden Valley, Woodbury, and Coon Rapids in response to an outbreak of canine influenza.

Over the past several days, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in respiratory infections in dogs at our shelters. Although we have been isolating and treating dogs with respiratory symptoms, this highly contagious infection has spread throughout the canine population at all three of our shelters.

These symptoms – and the highly contagious nature of the illness – are consistent with canine influenza. Although we’re waiting for tests to confirm that diagnosis, we learned last night that several dogs who arrived at AHS on March 23 were exposed to canine influenza at another shelter. As a result, we are taking proactive steps under the assumption that the outbreak in our shelters is canine influenza.  

We have alerted the Board of Animal Health of this outbreak and are following their guidance for treatment and next steps.

To protect animals in our community and prevent the further spread of this disease, we will be temporarily closing our shelters while we quarantine, treat, and care for the dogs who have developed symptoms.

Although canine influenza can cause severe illness, we expect the dogs in our care to recover with time and the expert care of our veterinary team. Canine influenza is not transmittable to humans and most other animals. Although cats can, in rare cases, contract the disease, they rarely develop symptoms or spread it to other animals. There is currently no sign of canine influenza among our cat population.

Today we will begin contacting everyone who adopted since March 23 to alert them of the possibility of exposure and to provide quarantine guidance and support to animals that have developed respiratory symptoms. Although shelter animals do not interact with owned animals in our facilities, we’ll also alert those who visited AHS with their dogs for training classes and vet center appointments out of an abundance of caution. We will also be alerting rescue partners, community veterinarians, and owners who have been reunited with pets since March 23.

We will provide updates as more information is available. We appreciate your patience as we respond to this emerging outbreak.

What should I do if my pet is sick?

Today, April 6, 2023, AHS will reach out to everyone who adopted a dog from one of our three shelters between March 24, 2023 to April 5, 2023 to notify them of possible exposure and to review what AHS is doing to support adopters and their dogs.

AHS will provide free medication and supportive care to any dogs adopted from one of our shelters between March 24, 2023 and April 6, 2023 who are experiencing symptoms of canine influenza. We will provide supportive care for up to four weeks from the adoption date.

What if I adopted a dog from AHS between March 24, 2023 and April 5, 2023, but haven’t received a call?

If the dog you adopted is experiencing symptoms of Canine Influenza, please contact the Pet Helpline at 952-435-7738 to receive guidance and schedule an appointment.

What is canine influenza?

Canine influenza is a virus that causes a respiratory infection in dogs – and sometimes cats. The virus is transmitted when dogs inhale viral particles spread by an infected dog through coughing. Dogs usually start showing signs two to four days after exposure to the virus. However, they can be contagious before and for up to three to four weeks after initially showing signs.   

Clinical signs and the severity of the disease can range widely from a mild sneeze and cough that clear on their own to pneumonia with a high fever and thick, green nasal discharge.

How is canine influenza different than kennel cough?

​​​​​​Kennel cough is a catch-all term used for any respiratory disease with similar symptoms, including sneezing, a hacking cough, and nasal discharge to pneumonia. There are around 20 different bacteria and viruses that can cause kennel cough. Canine influenza is one of them.

If canine influenza is just another virus that can cause kennel cough, why be worried?

There are two reasons we are being vigilant for canine influenza. First, canine influenza is more likely to cause severe symptoms like a high fever and pneumonia than other common causes of kennel cough. More importantly, dog flu is an emerging disease. This means that most dogs have not been exposed to it and therefore have no natural immunity to the disease, which they are likely to have to diseases that have been around for a while. This increases the risk of the virus spreading quickly through a population, especially when the dogs are close together, like in a shelter or boarding facility.

Should I vaccinate my dog for dog flu?

​​​​​​Right now, dog flu is not a core vaccine (like Parvo, Rabies, and Distemper), so the decision to vaccinate depends on a myriad of factors, including how many other dogs your dog interacts with and where they travel. This is a perfect conversation for you to have with your veterinarian. Also note that just like the flu vaccine developed for people each year, the dog flu vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing disease, so you should continue to take normal precautions with your pets.

Are there extra precautions I should take with my pet?

Following good hygiene habits in the shelter and at home with our dogs are things we should always be doing.

  • If your dog is sick, don’t bring them around other dogs.
  • If another dog is sick or coughing, don’t bring your dog around them.
  • When going between dogs in a shelter or boarding facility, wash your hands appropriately.

Following these simple rules and talking to your vet about the canine influenza vaccine won’t eliminate the risk of dog flu but will keep it to a minimum helping your pets stay healthy and happy.

Where can I go for more information?

You can find more information about canine influenza from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline