The Board launches a LinkedIn page plus advice on keeping your dog and others healthy

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

December 2023

Keeping your pets healthy amid all the "mystery dog illness" headlines

Dog at vet

Cold and flu season is upon us and our pets. Anytime you think your dog isn't feeling well you should talk to their veterinarian. Canine colds and respiratory illnesses are generally classified under a category called Canine Infectious Respiratory Diseases, or CIRD. Minnesota Veterinarians are reporting increased cases of dogs being seen for CIRD and not all are responding to treatment as expected, which has led to the headlines about mysterious illnesses impacting dogs around the country.

The Board is working closely with veterinarians and laboratories to identify any diseases currently on our radar like canine influenza or mycoplasma infections. Veterinarians play an important role in examining sick dogs and collecting test samples, while laboratories can confirm a disease agent and allow the veterinarian to select the appropriate treatment.

Dog owners and dog businesses play an enormous role in preventing disease spread in our canine communities. They should follow these tips to keep all dogs healthy during respiratory disease season:

  • Keep dogs at home when they're sick and isolate them from other dogs for 30 days.
  • Avoid contact with sick dogs and consider leaving pets at home when visiting other households with dogs.
  • Make sure dogs have their latest vaccinations.
  • Like people, some dogs are at higher risk of more severe disease like puppies, seniors, and those with underlying health conditions. Pay extra attention to any signs of illness in dogs with these risk factors and contact your veterinarian right away.
  • Dog businesses should maintain good cleaning and disinfection protocols they developed during the canine influenza outbreak earlier this year.

Veterinarians can submit samples to a laboratory of their choosing. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers the following canine respiratory tests:

  • Canine influenza A virus PCR testing
  • Aerobic Culture
  • Mycoplasma species Culture

Keep reading...

Last chance to apply for 2024 externships with the Board

The Board offers non-paid externships for students studying veterinary medicine to supplement their formal education with first-hand experience protecting public and animal health. Our externship program is designed to offer students an opportunity to work with the animal industry and the role our staff play in managing programs to control and eradicate animal disease.

Selected students will accompany state or federal animal health officials on pre-selected two-week rotations in 2024. Minimum qualifications include enrollment in an accredited university, using the experience to fulfill academic credits, and being able to provide their own transportation to assigned activities.

Review the full qualifications and apply for a 2024 externship rotation with the Board.

The Board of Animal Health can now be found on LinkedIn

We are excited to unveil our official LinkedIn page! This new outreach channel will help us carryout our mission to ensure Healthy animals for healthy people and communities in Minnesota. We'll use this new platform to connect, interact, and share with you, our valuable partners in accomplishing our mission.

There are a whole bunch of benefits. Stay updated on exciting career prospects with our agency. Access timely updates on prevalent diseases, emerging threats, and resources for veterinarians, producers and the public. Collaborate with us to protect and enhance the health of Minnesota's diverse livestock and companion animal populations.

Follow our LinkedIn page to start engaging, learning, and collaborating today.

Stay with us for a second...

You've probably heard the word, "biosecurity" more than once. In fact, most of us at the Board hear it more than once an hour. We preach it to our teams and responders during the HPAI outbreak, we promote it to producers on phone calls, emails and when we visit farms, and we even audit and evaluate it to ensure it's effectiveness.

Before we get any further, what does it mean again? Here's Merriam-Webster's take:

biosecurity (noun)


security from exposure to harmful biological agents.
also : measures taken to ensure this security.

Put very simply, "keeping the bad germs out." Why is it so important to us though, and why do we keep pestering farmers about it? First of all, we bother everybody with our biosecurity sales pitch, from 4-H'ers to feed delivery drivers. It's important to us because everyone plays a part in reducing the risk of disease introductions in animal populations.

The more, "biosecurity" becomes a part of everyday conversation like, "how's the weather?" the better the odds are we're all speaking the same language and know how our individual actions throughout the day can stop the spread of disease. The Board is looking forward to expanding our biosecurity outreach even more in 2024 (billboards? airplane marquees? sponsoring a professional sports team? Drop us a line on our new LinkedIn account if you have better ideas!).

In closing, we just want to remind you to take a moment and think about what this word means to you and how you can turn it into action to help us ensure Healthy animals for healthy people and communities.

December 2023 Board Meeting Recording

The recording of our final quarterly Board meeting of 2023 has been posted online.