The deadly virus affecting dozens of dogs in Northern Michigan has been discovered, and we want to make sure pet parents have the latest information about the mysterious disease that has been confusing experts for weeks.
State agriculture officials have determined that the disease is parvovirus, a highly contagious and often fatal disease that causes acute gastrointestinal illness and is most commonly found in unvaccinated puppies.
Symptoms include bloody diarrhea and poop, vomiting, and lack of energy.
Until now, most of the affected dogs were under 2 years old, and according to experts, all dogs had no history of full vaccination.
To find out how pet parents in the area can protect their dogs and what that has to do with vaccinations, we spoke with Dr. Hilary Jones, veterinarian and chief veterinarian at DodoVet, for her insight into the parvovirus.
What you need to know about the deadly dog virus in Michigan?
Parvovirus is passed from dog to dog, so vaccination is critical to keep dogs safe.
Pet parents in the area should make sure their dogs have received one of the major vaccines, DHPP, which covers canine distemper, parvo, parainfluenza, and adenovirus.
“Fully vaccinated means puppies have completed the three series of injections commonly given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks,” Dr. Jones to The Dodo. “Adult dogs are vaccinated for DHPP every one to three years.”
While the best way to protect against this new suspected parvovirus strain is to make sure your dog is up to date on his vaccines, Dr. Jones a few more suggestions for pet parents:
- Avoid high traffic areas such as parks, dog parks, ponds and lakes.
- Do not let your dog drink from communal water bowls.
- If your pet is not fully vaccinated, avoid interactions with other dogs.
- Be sure to clean up your dog, as feces can help spread the disease.
- Also monitor your dog for gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea, or changes in energy and appetite (and if you see these signs, contact your vet immediately).
“Canine parvovirus is a serious and highly contagious disease in dogs, and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus,” state veterinarian Nora Wineland told The Detroit News. “We have a very effective vaccine available to help protect dogs from the virus. Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against this virus are at the greatest risk…Protecting Michigan’s dogs is a team effort.”
If you live in Michigan or a surrounding state and suspect your dog is suffering from parvovirus symptoms (bloody diarrhea and poop, vomiting, and lack of energy), it’s best to contact your vet immediately. We hope this situation clears up soon, and we’ll keep you updated with the latest information as we learn more about this deadly virus.