canine influenza

Canine Influenza Protocols

We are actively watching the Canine Influenza outbreak that began April 2023. Read on to learn more.

Quick overview of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV):

  • A highly contagious viral infection that can be spread to dogs & cats, but not humans
  • Transmitted through respiratory secretions, coughing, sneezing, barking, etc
  • Virus is viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours on surfaces, 24 hours on clothing, and 12 hours on skin
  • Incubation period of 1 to 8 days, dogs are most contagious during incubation which can be before they show symptoms
  • Unvaccinated dogs can spread the illness for up to 4 weeks after showing symptoms
  • Virtually all dogs exposed to CIV become infected as there is no natural immunity
    • Vaccines are available, but vaccination rate for our area is LOW due to it being a lifestyle vaccine
    • If your dog has been vaccinated for CIV, they are less likely to become sick if exposed to a dog with CIV, but may still become infected. Symptoms are generally much more mild and shorter duration in this situation.
  • Nearly 80% of infected dogs show clinical symptoms and estimated the remaining dogs are asymptomatic. The mortality rate of the infection is less than 10%, mainly occurring when dogs develop severe forms of the disease
  • Symptoms are like other upper respiratory infections;
    • coughing
    • sneezing
    • nasal and eye discharge
    • lethargy
    • fever
    • inappetence
    • hard swallowing and excessive throat clearing
  • Severe infection can lead to high fever, pneumonia, and difficulty breathing
  • Treatment is often supportive care, staying hydrated, resting, and so on, but your veterinarian would provide you with detailed care instructions if they were to become ill
  • More information available here:

What Metro Dogs is doing:

Metro Dogs cleaning and illness procedures already met the suggestions for social facilities from the MN Board of Animal Health. One additional precaution they recommended was for employees to change clothing after contact with upper respiratory illness, so our staff now have extra sets of clothes available to change if necessary.

In addition to our usual disease prevention measures (fresh air exchange, daily facility sanitation, illness tracking, sick pet policies) we have added the following:

  • Newly adopted pets from shelter/rescue facilities must remain in the home 6 weeks illness free before beginning at Metro Dogs
  • Requiring dogs with upper respiratory symptoms to remain home for 30 days unless cleared by a veterinarian through written approval to return to playgroup
    • Dogs that were in close contact with this dog at daycare within the last 8 days of symptom onset will be required to have a daycare quarantine for 10 days to be watched for additional symptoms
  • Dogs that show symptoms at daycare will be immediately isolated
    • Dogs must be picked up immediately, please have an emergency contact ready if you are unable to pick up
    • All shared use items (bowls, crates, blankets, etc) from the room will be removed and sanitized
    • Employee that was in the playroom will change clothes and wash hands and sanitize shoes
    • Fresh air exchange will run immediately after symptoms noticed
  • Dogs that will be utilizing our separate Tiny Town/Confidence Club playroom will begin and end their day separated from the main floor (Littles, Middles and Bigs)
    • These spaces have separate air exchange/AC/heat systems
  • Employees entering different playrooms throughout the day are required to wash/sanitize hands before/after entering a new playroom (unless an emergency dictates otherwise)
    • If spending extended amounts of time in different playrooms, employees will change their clothing between playrooms
  • Puppies in the front office playpen will no longer have visiting adult playmates from Tiny Town and will not go out to Tiny Town playroom for playtime visits
  • CIV vaccine will be required when supply is replenished in our area, we hope by the end of the year all dogs will be able to get vaccinated



What we know of the H3N2 strain:

In April 2015, there was an outbreak of the H3N2 strain that originated in Chicago and spread to other parts of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. It was noted that the virus spread in a wavelike pattern, with rapid illness beginning 2 to 4 days after an introduction to the population. Studies done on dogs in shelter facilities showed that viral loads peaked 2 to 3 days after the probable infection date.

Most dogs developed mild symptoms, but generally, there were few or no deaths directly due to the virus. Some dogs became coinfected with other upper respiratory pathogens. Once the infection ran its course, the disease was no longer an issue in the shelter environment within a few months. The hypothesis was that after infection, most dogs became immune. This is further supported by data from studies done on dogs in South Korea, where the virus is most common.


Vaccination information:

Vaccines are available for CIV, one for each strain and a bivalent vaccine. The vaccine is similar to the flu vaccine in humans, meaning it will lessen the severity of symptoms, but not completely prevent them from becoming ill.

Vaccines were in short supply in our area at the beginning of the outbreak. As of late May, many veterinarians have received vaccines and are already scheduling appointments. If you wish to get your dog vaccinated, we recommend reaching out to your veterinarian ASAP. The first vaccine requires a booster 3-4 weeks after the first, and then 10 – 14 days for your dog to develop full immunity.

Metro Dogs has always highly recommended the CIV vaccine but has not required it as the incident rate of CIV in our area was extremely low. Once vaccine stock has been replenished, Metro Dogs will begin requiring this vaccine for all dogs attending daycare. If your dog has already received the CIV vaccine, please let us know and we will update your dog’s vaccines in Gingr.


We are finally returning to normal daycare numbers. A majority of pups have been vaccinated for Canine Influenza, many are returning to their normal daycare routine! We are ecstatic to see everyone again and are so thankful for the hardworking veterinary community that came together to so quickly administer vaccines. 

As Metro Dogs adheres to a low dog to staff ratio, the increased attendence means that we are beginning to reach our safety capacity and starting waitlists for those days we’ve reached that safety capacity.

If you are new to Metro Dogs, you may review our waitlist policy on the FAQ page! We recommend booking your daycare reservations in advance so to secure your dog’s spot in their playroom. We understand that you may not know your schedule in advance or the waitlist may not be ideal for your situation, and we want you to know that we will always do our best to accommodate for you.