The disease 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. Friday on Facebook.
More than 30 dogs died this month from similar symptoms in Michigan’s Clare County, three counties to the south, that county’s director of animal control told county officials last week, according to the Clare County Cleaver. Similar reports have been made around northern and central Michigan.
Those are symptoms that can be caused by canine parvovirus, known as “parvo,” a highly contagious virus that usually infects unvaccinated dogs and puppies under 4 months of age, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Details on whether Parvo is involved in the Michigan conflict. Affected dogs tested negative for parvo during initial vet screening, the Otsego County Shelter and Clare County Animal Control Director have said.
But some of the first samples submitted to Michigan State University’s veterinary diagnostic lab tested positive for parvovirus, the state lab and agriculture department said Monday.
“However, more results are pending and more to be learned,” said state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland in a press release from the Agriculture Department.
The agriculture department called it a “canine parvovirus-like illness” and said it and MSU’s diagnostic lab are helping to investigate the cases.
The affected dogs in Otsego County were generally dogs less than 2 years old or older, the local shelter said.
“We haven’t seen any dogs die…that have been WELL vaccinated,” reads the shelter’s Facebook post.
Routine vaccinations for dogs include those against parvovirus, and dog owners should make sure their pets have the vaccine, the Agriculture Department says.
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
The Otsego County Shelter highlighted a challenge that initial negative tests may have posed in the recent cases.
“Because there are many diseases that are similar, the vet can treat differently,” reads the shelter’s message.