Dozens of dog deaths in Michigan are attributed to parvovirus

B.R. Shenoy

“Canine parvovirus is a severe and highly contagious disease in dogs but (the state) and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus," state veterinarian Nora Wineland said in a statement from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

State officials have identified canine parvovirus as the mysterious illness that has sickened and killed dozens of dogs across Michigan, per People.

The announcement from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development comes after at least 30 animals died from the illness despite testing negative for it at one animal shelter in Otsego County.

In a statement from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, state veterinarian Nora Wineland said that dogs who have not received all of their vaccinations are most susceptible, adding that effective vaccines are available.

According to the statement, full vaccination protects the animals from severe illness, and cases should not cause dog owners to "drastically change" how they care for their pets or where they plan to travel.

Per the New York Post:

"This situation is complex because although the dogs displayed clinical signs suggestive of parvovirus, they consistently test negative by point-of-care tests performed in clinics and shelters. Screening tests for parvo are done 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 laboratory. We continue to further characterize the virus in hopes of better understanding why those animals were testing negative on screening tests," MSU VDL director Dr. Kim Dodd said.

Closing Thoughts

Because no drug can kill parvovirus in infected dogs, treatment focuses on supporting the body's systems, such as replacing electrolytes, protein, and fluid losses so that the immune system can fight the infection, according to the Veterinary Medical Association.

According to the Veterinary Medical Association, canine parvovirus is spread through dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces and environments. According to the state agriculture department, it is not contagious to humans or other animals.

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