Statement on Suspected Twin Cities Canine Influenza Outbreak
Dated: April 7, 2023
We want to take a moment to talk a little about a suspected canine influenza outbreak in the Twin Cities metro area. More than 200 cases are suspected (with possibly more that are not reported yet), and multiple animal shelters are under an extended quarantine to stop the spread and treat the sick dogs.
Fortunately, most dogs recover with appropriate treatment, and there is a vaccine to help prevent infection. Unfortunately, the vaccine is difficult to come by right now.
We have no reason to believe TCHS dogs have been exposed at this time, but we are taking precautions to keep everyone healthy and safe. Some of those precautions include emphasizing our already diligent cleaning and sanitizing protocols, being selective about intakes from certain geographical areas, and looking into acquiring vaccines.
Symptoms of the virus are the typical “kennel cough” symptoms: coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, and possibly progressing to more serious illness. If your dog exhibits any symptoms, keep them isolated and away from other dogs (it does not readily spread to humans or other species), and call your veterinarian for guidance.
If your dog is not vaccinated, use caution when doing social activities where they are exposed to other dogs. Dog parks, pet stores, or other places they may be exposed to other dogs are potential risks. Unfortunately, infected dogs can spread the virus before they show symptoms. Again, discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian.
Read the Minnesota Department of Health news release.
Update: April 26, 2023
We want to take a moment to give an update on the suspected canine influenza outbreak in the Twin Cities area. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has released more tips for dog owners, veterinary professionals, and dog care facilities, as four more cases of canine influenza have been confirmed in the Twin Cities area outside of the original outbreak that was reported earlier this month.
To be clear, as of now, this activity is all related to the Twin Cities area. We have no reason to believe TCHS dogs have been exposed, but we are still taking precautions to keep everyone healthy and safe. Some of those precautions include emphasizing our already conscientious cleaning and sanitizing protocols and being selective about intakes from certain geographical areas. (If you visit TCHS, please be careful to NOT stick hands in kennels and be diligent about sanitizing!)
Here are the tips that the Minnesota Board of Animal Health released for dog owners in the Twin Cities (or anyone who might be bringing their dog to that area for a visit – it’s good general guidance no matter where you live!):
• Avoid direct dog-to-dog contact with dogs outside of your household or dogs known to have been boarded, attended dog day-care, or visited a dog park in the last seven days.
• If your dog is sick, keep them at home, away from other animals, and call your veterinarian.
• Consider avoiding dog parks and other locations with uncontrolled dog-to-dog contact.
• Keep your distance (six feet) at places where dogs congregate like dog parks and while on walks with your dog.
• Canine influenza can also spread via contaminated surfaces, including skin and clothing. If your dog is sick or you have contact with dogs outside of your household, wash your hands and change clothes before interacting with other animals.
Feline Distemper Statement
Dated May 12, 2023
Tri-County Humane Society has an update we would like to share in the interest of always trying to be transparent and informative with our community.
On Thursday, May 4th, a stray cat was found in the city of St. Cloud, and he was brought to the shelter. On Monday, May 8th, our Animal Care Team took action upon noticing he appeared very ill. He was tested for feline distemper, and the result was positive.
We do not believe that he contracted the illness at the shelter based on the severity of his symptoms within only a few days. However, the cat was housed in the main Cat Room for his first days at the shelter because, at the time, he appeared normal. (TCHS vaccinates all animals for distemper when they arrive, but it can still be in their systems without them presenting symptoms.)
To prevent possibly spreading the illness, TCHS closed the Cat Room earlier this week while our Animal Care Team developed a plan in concert with animal health experts. Feline distemper is always, unfortunately, a possibility not only at animal shelters but anywhere. About a week before this incident, a litter of four kittens brought to TCHS from a rural rescue partner also tested positive.
There is no evidence that feline distemper is harbored in our shelter population at this time, and our higher-risk cats are being monitored very closely. (Feline distemper is especially a threat to them.) Our Cat Room is open for customers who are interested in specific cats, but the general foot traffic will be limited for a bit. (Thank you in advance for understanding!)
To protect your cats at home, please contact your veterinarian and make sure they’re up to date on their vaccines. Vaccinations are always the best protection against these diseases. (This is a good idea even if your cats stay exclusively indoors.)
Thank you for wanting to adopt a pet from Tri-County Humane Society. We hope you find what you’re looking for, but if not, visit again tomorrow! New pets in need of a loving home arrive daily. If you have any questions regarding the pet descriptions on our website, please call us at (320) 252-0896. Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers will assist you in finding a good match for you and your household.
We look forward to adding your adoption story to the list soon!
Animals are adopted quickly from Tri-County Humane Society, so we advise you to call us if you find an animal you are interested in to place a deposit on them. To place a deposit on a pet, call us at (320) 252-0896 and have your Visa, Discover, American Express, or Mastercard ready. (Or you can stop in the shelter in person to place a deposit.) NOTE: Tri-County Humane Society CANNOT hold an animal without a $20 deposit. Anyone is welcome to visit with our animals during business hours, but we cannot guarantee that animal's availability unless a deposit is placed, either by phone or in person. (We cannot place deposits through email messaging or social media messaging.)
Deposit: Deposits will hold animals for two full business days after that animal is cleared to leave the building. There is a $20 non-refundable, non-transferable fee associated with this service, although if you choose to adopt the pet, this $20 will go toward the pet’s adoption fee. The $20 deposit would be required to hold a particular animal if it's not yet ready to leave the shelter (i.e. not spayed/neutered or pending medical assessment).
2nd Deposit: If an animal you are interested in already has a deposit, you can place a second deposit on the animal. If the first deposit falls through, you will be next in line to adopt this pet; you will have two business days from the time we notify you to finalize the adoption at the shelter. A $20 non-refundable, non-transferable fee still applies, even if the person with the first deposit decides to adopt the pet. TCHS will take up to three deposits per animal, but it is always first come, first serve, and the deposits are always non-refundable/non-transferrable.
1. Are all pets spayed or neutered prior to adoption? Yes. In an effort to reduce accidental litters and decrease the number of unwanted pets in our community, we have been committed to spaying/neutering all dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and rabbits prior to adoption since 2012. The cost of this procedure is included in the adoption fee, not in addition to it.
2. Are the pets available for adoption healthy? We receive pets of all ages in varying states of health, and it is simply not possible to guarantee the health of every animal. All pets receive a basic physical examination and temperament evaluation, performed by our animal care team. Any concerns are addressed by our shelter veterinarian and necessary treatments are prescribed. If continued treatment is necessary following adoption, this information will be clearly explained to you at the time of adoption and a full medical history of what we have done for your new pet will be provided. It is important to know that we are not a veterinary clinic, however, and we are limited in our abilities. It is strongly recommended that you visit a veterinarian of your choice within the first week of adopting your new pet.
3. Do the pets receive vaccinations? All dogs and cats receive distemper combination vaccines. Dogs also receive a bordatella vaccine to help prevent kennel cough. Some pets receive rabies vaccines, but not all.
4. Are the pets free of parasites? We check all animals for fleas, lice, ear mites, and ticks, and treatment is administered if anything is detected. All dogs and cats receive a standard deworming with their examination that covers Roundworm and Hookworm. It is recommended that this deworming be repeated two more times to cover all life stages of the parasites if any are present, so depending on the length of time the animal is in our care, follow up deworming may need to be completed at your veterinary clinic.
5. Are the pets microchipped? Yes. All dogs and cats receive microchips, and your information is registered with the microchip company during the adoption process. Microchips are not a tracking device, but rather an identification chip inserted under the skin that cannot be removed, unlike collars with tags that can fall off. It is standard practice for animals shelters and veterinary clinics to scan stray pets to see if a microchip is found. It is safe for pets, and one of the most effective means to reunite lost pets with their owners.
6. Is there a return period if the adoption does not work out? Yes. We have a 30-day return period during which your adopted pet may be returned for any reason, and all but $20 of the adoption fee will be refunded. A full refund will only be issued if there is a medical reason for the return which has been confirmed by a veterinarian.
7. What if I need to return my adopted pet after the 30-day return period? After the 30-day return period, you will be asked to pay a surrender fee to return your adopted pet. Please call first as we take in animals using scheduled appointments. Be prepared that, depending on the time of year, we may be booking appointments out a few weeks or more. We can rarely accommodate same-day appointments as our shelter is almost always full.
MBAH Kennel License # MN140200