What pet owners need to know

Lab 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 old are most at risk. According to American Veterinary Medical Association.

“This situation is complex because although the dogs have presented clinical signs suggestive of parvovirus, they are systematically tested negative by point-of-care tests carried out in clinics and shelters. Parvo screening tests are performed to help guide immediate isolation, disinfection and treatment protocols. Although these tests are useful in a clinical setting, they are not as sensitive as the diagnostic tests that we can perform here in the laboratory. We continue to further characterize the virus in hopes of better understanding why these animals tested negative,” MSU VDL said the director, Dr. Kim Dodd.

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According to Otsego County Animal Control, the more than 30 dogs who died were from different regions and different owners. A puppy mill was not involved and the dogs were not a type of dog breed.

Animal control officials are urging people to make sure their dogs are properly vaccinated. They also said on their travels not to allow their dogs to potty in areas where many other dogs have been. It is also very important to clean up after your dogs.

They also made the following statements about Facebookhoping to clear up any confusion:

  • The disease does not affect some breeds more than others

  • They heard from many counties in northern and central Michigan with reports of illnesses

  • They haven’t seen a properly vaccinated dog die.

  • Those affected were puppies under the age of two and older dogs

Lily: Here’s How Parvo-Like Disease Affects Young Michigan Dogs

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How to protect your dog from parvovirus

The most important way to protect your dog is to follow 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 has been fully vaccinated before allowing it to interact with other animals. You should keep all dogs and puppies away from other dogs if they show signs of illness.

Be sure to clean up after your pet when walking it in public to prevent the spread of disease. The virus can spread from place to place on dogs’ hair or feet, or through contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.

Parvovirus is resistant to heat, cold, humidity and drying. It is known to survive in the environment for long periods of time, which is why getting your dog vaccinated is so important.

Parvovirus is not contagious to humans or other animals.

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Symptoms of Parvovirus in Puppies

Most parvovirus deaths 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 treatment is to support the dog in fighting the infection.

The American Kennel Club says the following are symptoms of parvovirus in puppies.

  • bloody diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Anorexia

  • Weightloss

  • Weakness

  • Dehydration

  • The Depression

If your puppy exhibits any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian.

How to clean up after parvovirus

It is very difficult to completely eliminate the virus in your home after an infection has occurred.

According McEwen Veterinary Clinic, freezing completely protects against the virus, so if your garden is frozen, you should wait until it thaws before introducing a new puppy. Shady areas should be considered contaminated for seven months and sunny areas should be considered contaminated for five months.

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According to University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, the bleach works to inactivate the virus. Bleach can be used on surfaces such as stainless steel or sealed floors, but another option should be used for porous surfaces.

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