A worrying number of dogs in and around northern Michigan have died from a disease similar to canine parvovirus (CPV). Now the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) advises dog owners to ensure their pets are fully vaccinated.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that typically causes acute gastrointestinal distress in puppies. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, CPV generally occurs in puppies between six and 20 weeks of age, but it can affect older dogs as well. Vomiting and diarrhea are signs of the disease, although a press release shared by MDARD said a dog exhibiting these symptoms tested negative for CPV at a veterinary clinic.
The disease is not transferable to humans or other animals.
Earlier this month, on August 8, Otsego County Animal Shelter made a public service announcement on its Facebook page, revealing the alarming number of deaths.
The post shared that several dogs had fallen ill with what appeared to be parvo in the past month.
In a statement to TODAY, a spokesperson for MDARD explained: “Parvovirus is not a disease that must be reported to the state veterinarian, so there is no direct case count to provide. What we have is anecdotal information that puts the parvo case number somewhere between 15-25 or so, but no confirmation.
Reports of illness and deaths have come from outside of Otsego County, Northern Michigan. According to the Otsego Animal Shelter, reports have been made in Vanderbilt, Michigan, the town of Gaylord, west of Gaylord and south of Gaylord.
Nora Wineland, Michigan’s state veterinarian and director of the Animal Industry Division at MDARD, shared on the department’s website that the investigation into the situation is at an early stage.
“We are still in the early stages of this research, but some of the first samples submitted to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory were positive for canine parvovirus. However, more results are pending and more to be done.” learning,” explains Wineland. “When MDARD first learned of these cases in northern Michigan, we immediately reached out to the concerned veterinarians and animal shelters and began our response.”
“Protecting animal health and public health is one of the most important pillars of the department, but it is a team effort,” the statement continued, before issuing an advice to pet owners. “Dog owners should make sure their pet is up to date with routine vaccinations as this is the first step in keeping your pet healthy.”
According to MDARD, there are several steps owners can take to ensure their pets are protected, including ensuring that all dogs (including puppies) are fully vaccinated before they can interact with other animals.
Owners are advised to ensure vaccinations cover parvovirus, rabies, distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis. Dogs and puppies with symptoms or illnesses should be cared for at home and away from other dogs. Owners should also contact their veterinarian immediately. All owners should also be diligent about cleaning up their dog’s feces during walks or outside.