Michigan Officials Investigating ‘parvo-like’ Illness That Sickened, Killed Dozens Of Dogs

Federal and state agencies are investigating an illness that affected and killed dozens pets throughout Otsego County after they showed indications of the “parvo-like” illness.

A few of the tests performed on sick or deceased dogs have been positive for canine parvovirus. It is an extremely contagious disease that can be found in all dogs. Michigan State University is encouraging veterinarians to conduct further tests in situations where the parvovirus screening tests are not positive.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is seeking to know more about reports of illness , and has begun conducting further tests.

“We are at the beginning of this research, but certain of the initial samples sent for analysis by the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory proved positive of canine parvovirus. There are still additional results in the pipeline and much to be discovered,” State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. Protection of the health of animals and people is one of MDARD’s principal pillars of work but it’s an entire team effort. Pet owners should ensure that they keep their pets up to the latest on routine vaccinations since it is the first step to maintaining your pet’s health.”

The Otsego County Animal Shelter said in a post on Facebook that some dogs that are suffering from “parvo-like” symptoms are testing negative for parvovirus , and will die within a couple of days. In a previous post on its Facebook page the shelter claimed that its most likely explanation was that a specific strain of parvovirus is responsible for the deaths and illnesses.

They also issued the following statements in hopes of removing any doubts:

  • The disease does not cause more harm to certain breeds than other breeds.
  • There have been reports of numerous counties in central and northern Michigan with reports of illness
  • They haven’t seen any dogs that were properly vaccinated suffer a death
  • The dogs affected include puppies less than two years old and senior dogs

How can you safeguard your dog from parvovirus?

The best way to ensure your dog’s safety is to ensure that you are keeping up with regular vaccinations particularly if you intend to travel.

Check that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies, canine parvovirus and canine distemper. Also, there is parainfluenza, adenovirus and leptospirosis.

Young puppies and dogs who have not been vaccinated than four months are at greatest risk of serious illness caused by parvovirus. The virus infects dogs’ digestive tract, and it is transmitted through direct contact between dogs as well as contact with feces surroundings or even people according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

If you are a parent be sure that the puppy has been fully vaccinated before allowing it to play with other animals. All puppies and dogs from dogs that show any indications of disease.

Clean your pet’s mess after you’re out walking them to avoid spreading diseases. The virus can be spread from one location to the next on the feet or hair of dogs, or via the contaminated shoes, cages or other things.

Parvovirus is intolerant to cold, heat dryness, and humidity. It has been proven to live in the wild for long periods of time. That is the reason why it is so crucial to ensure that your dog is vaccination.

Parvovirus isn’t contagious to humans or other animals.

Puppy parvovirus symptoms

The majority of deaths caused by parvovirus are reported within 48 to 72 hours after onset of symptoms as per the AVMA. There are no specific medications which can stop the virus from infecting dogs. The treatment is to help the dog in its fight against the disease.

The American Kennel Club said the following symptoms are a sign of parvovirus among puppies.

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

If your puppy is suffering from any of these signs, you must consult your vet.

How do I clean up after parvovirus?

It can be very difficult to completely eradicate the infection from your home after the virus has been detected.

As per McEwen Animal Clinic, freezing is 100% protective of the virus, so if you have a yard that is frozen, you need to wait for it’s thawing prior to introducing puppies. Shaded areas must be thought to be infected for seven months, while those with sun exposure should be considered to be infected during the course of five months.

Based on research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Bleach is a method to eliminate the virus. Bleach can be applied to surfaces like stainless steel or floors that are sealed but a different option must be considered for surfaces with pores.