Respiratory symptoms first showed up July 7, said Bobbie Bauman, director of operations for the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter
By July 10, several dogs were sick, she said. Test results that came back Thursday afternoon confirmed the presence of the canine influenza virus, a highly contagious disease that can sometimes be fatal.
“Influenza is a reportable disease so the Board of Animal Health was contacted,” Bauman said.
Following an inspection Friday, the shelter’s dog adoption floor was shut down and 20 dogs placed under quarantine.
Shelter staff are taking additional steps to limit the spread of the canine influenza virus, Bauman said. “We’re just trying to stay ahead of it,” she said.
A temporary impound facility has been set up at another location so the shelter can continue to take dogs brought in as strays, she said. “We’ll be caring for those dogs off-site.”
Notification was sent to everyone who adopted or claimed an animal from the shelter in the past month, she said.
The shelter also has temporarily stopped accepting dogs surrendered by their owners. Community outreach programs with shelter animals have been halted as well.
The quarantine is expected to last at least three weeks.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is tracking the situation as it unfolds, said Dr. Courtney Wheeler, a veterinarian with the state board.
“We’re sort of taking it day by day,” Wheeler said Monday. “We’ll continue to monitor as long as needed… Hopefully we can contain it.”
No shelter dogs have died since the outbreak began earlier this month. But of the 20 dogs under quarantine, about two-thirds have gotten sick, Bauman said.
Shelter staff have been working around the clock administering fluids and medications and providing supportive care, she said. “They get pretty sick for about 48 hours.”
Wheeler had praise for how the shelter has been handling the outbreak and communicating with the public.
“They’ve done a really good job of ramping up their…