An organization that operates shelters in Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington counties has been placed under quarantine after hundreds of dogs were reported sick.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said the quarantine is to stop the potential spread of suspected canine influenza, a highly infectious disease in dogs.  The organization reported nearly 200 sick dogs at its facilities.

The quarantine will remain in effect for approximately six weeks based on clinical signs in the dogs.

“There is an approved vaccine for canine influenza, and we’ve advised the organization to vaccinate all dogs in their care.” said Senior Veterinarian in charge of companion animals, Dr. Veronica Bartsch. “The quarantine is crucial to stop the spread of the virus and monitor and treat the exposed dogs.”

Anyone who suspects canine influenza in their dog should contact their veterinarian for guidance and care.  Signs of canine influenza include sneezing, cough, eye or nose discharge, and lethargy.  Canine influenza is considered low-risk to people.

The board says the shelter imported dogs from an Oklahoma shelter where the disease was confirmed, but cases remain suspect because testing is not complete.