An unknown virus has made several dogs seriously ill in Ohio in the last three weeks. Fifty percent of the sick dogs have died.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has been working with health officials to identify exactly what is causing the illness. The major symptoms are vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy.
A fecal sample taken from one of the sick dogs revealed the presence of canine circovirus. This virus common in pigs, but has not previously presented in dogs.
The dogs who have taken ill with this mysterious sickness are between the age of three and four years of age.
Dr. Melanie Butera, a veterinarian at Elm Ridge Animal Hospital, has treated the dogs who became ill in the Akron-area.
Butera said of the alarming symptoms: “The dogs were so profoundly sick, over such a short period of time. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen, and I did emergency work for 20 years, so I’ve seen a lot of stuff.”
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is urging dog owners who are concerned for their pets, to contact their veterinarian immediately.
State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey urges veterinarians in the area to reach out for help if they are treating a dog impacted with this mysterious illness. “While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio’s veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case.”
Here’s the press release issued by the Dept. of Agriculture:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erica Hawkins, 614-752-9817
Ohio Agriculture Department Working to Identify Cause of Dog Illnesses
State is enlisting the help of Ohio veterinarians to identify and combat disease
(Sept. 6) The Ohio Department of Agriculture is working with animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of dog illnesses in the state.
The department is also urging veterinarians in the state to contact the Division of Animal Health if they suspect any animals in their care are suffering from the same disease.
The department’s Division of Animal Health has been taking reports of severe dog illnesses in several parts of the state for the past three weeks. Affected dogs have exhibited similar symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea , weight loss and lethargy.
Although there are several known causes of these symptoms in dogs, it is generally believed that there is an unknown contribute or to the cases. “While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick , we are asking Ohio’s veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case, ” said State Veter inarian Dr. Tony Forshey. Veterinarians can also help by sharing information on what pet owners should look for and how they can protect their dogs.
Owners of dogs with similar symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately.
The department has also recommended concerned dog owners take standard precautions used to reduce the spread of viral infections, including monitoring the animal closely for signs of illness and refraining from co-mingling them with other dogs.
“The most important thing dog owners can do is call their veterinarian if they have concerns about the health of their pets. Your veterinarian is the best person to help determine if your animal is ill and what steps should be taken to help them recover,” said Dr. Forshey.
As part of its investigation, the department also announced the presence ofcanine circovirus in a fecal sample taken from an ill dog in the state. This is the first laboratory detection of canine circovirus in Ohio. Further work is being done to verify the significance of this finding. “The laboratory confirmation is important because the virus is newly isolated , however we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.
“Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs.
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