HomeHealthParvovirus is the disease that killed dozens of dogs in Michigan, officials...

Parvovirus is the disease that killed dozens of dogs in Michigan, officials say

It has killed more than 20 dogs in Otsego County alone, usually within days of showing symptoms of vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite, the county animal shelter in Gaylord, a 60-mile drive northeast of Traverse City, said. said Friday on Facebook.
More than 30 dogs died of similar symptoms in Clare County, three counties to the south, according to the Clare County Cleaver, that county’s director of animal protection told officials last week. Similar reports have been made around northern and central Michigan.
“Canine parvovirus is a serious and highly contagious disease in dogs, but (the state) and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus,” state veterinarian Nora Wineland said in a statement from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dogs that are not fully vaccinated are most at risk, Wineland noted, adding that effective vaccines are available.

Full vaccination protects the animals from serious illness, and cases should not cause dog owners to “drasically” change how they care for their pets or where they plan to travel, the statement said.

Routine vaccinations for dogs include those against parvovirus, the department added.

Experts were challenged after affected dogs tested negative during initial vet screening, the Otsego County Shelter and Clare County Animal Control Director had said.

“While those tests are valuable in the clinical setting, they are not as sensitive as the diagnostic tests we can perform here in the lab. We continue to characterize the virus further in hopes of better understanding why those animals tested negative on screening tests,” said Kim Dodd, the director of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory at Michigan State University.

Some of the first samples submitted to the Michigan State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory tested positive for parvovirus, the state lab and agriculture department said Monday.

The affected dogs in Otsego County were generally younger than 2 years of age, the local shelter said.

“We haven’t seen any dogs die…that have been WELL vaccinated,” reads the shelter’s Facebook post.

Canine parvovirus is spread through dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces and environments, the Veterinary Medical Association says. It is not contagious to humans or other types of animals, the state agriculture ministry said.

No drug will kill parvovirus in infected dogs, so treatment for that virus focuses on supporting the body’s systems — including by replacing electrolyte, protein and fluid loss — so the immune system can fight off the infection, says Veterinary Medicine association.

Survival rates for parvovirus “can approach 90%” with proper treatment, but when death occurs, it usually occurs 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin, the association says.

CNN’s Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

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