Laboratory tests of sick or dead dogs in Northern Michigan have come back positive for canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs.
Unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months of age are most at risk. The virus affects a dog’s gastrointestinal tract and is spread through direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with feces, environments or people, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“This situation is complex because although the dogs showed clinical signs suggesting parvovirus, they consistently tested negative through point-of-care testing conducted in clinics and shelters. Screening tests for parvo are performed to help guide immediate isolation, disinfection, and treatment protocols. 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 in hopes of better understanding why those animals tested negative in screening tests,” MSU VDL director dr. Kim Dodd said.
According to Otsego County Animal Control, the more than 30 dogs that died came from different areas and different owners. There was no puppy mill involved and the dogs were not one type of dog breed.
Animal control officials are urging people to make sure their dogs are properly vaccinated. They also said that when traveling, they should consider not allowing their dogs to go potty in areas where numerous other dogs have disappeared. It is also very important to clean up after your dogs.
They have also made the following statements about: facebookhoping to clear up any confusion:
The disease does not affect certain breeds more than others
They have heard from many counties around Northern and Central Michigan with reports of illnesses
They have not seen well-vaccinated dogs die
Those affected were puppies under two and older dogs
Read: Here’s How Parvo-Like Disease Affects Young Dogs in Michigan
How to protect your dog from the parvovirus
The most important way to protect your dog is to keep up with routine vaccinations, especially if you plan to travel.
Make sure your dog is vaccinated against canine parvovirus, rabies, distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis.
If you have a puppy, make sure it is fully vaccinated before introducing it to other animals. Keep all dogs and puppies away from other dogs if they show signs of illness.
Be sure to clean up your pet when walking in public to prevent the spread of disease. The virus can spread from place to place on dogs’ hair or paws, or through contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.
Parvovirus is resistant to heat, cold, humidity and dehydration. It is known to survive in the environment for a long time, which is why it is so important to get your dog vaccinated.
Parvovirus is not contagious to humans or other animals.
Symptoms of Parvovirus in Puppies
Most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of symptoms, according to the AVMA. There are no specific drugs that can kill the virus in infected dogs and the treatment is to support the dog in fighting the infection.
The American Kennel Club said the following are symptoms of parvovirus in puppies.
If your puppy has any of these symptoms, contact your vet.
How to clean after parvovirus
It is very difficult to completely eliminate the virus in your home after an infection has been present.
According to McEwen Vet Clinicfrostbite is completely protective against the virus, so if your yard is frozen, you should wait for it to thaw before introducing a new puppy. Shady areas should be considered infected for seven months and sunny areas should be considered infected for five months.
According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, bleach works to inactivate the virus. Bleach can be used on surfaces such as stainless steel or sealed floors, but a different option should be used for porous surfaces.
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