Despite initially screening negative for the highly contagious disease, affected dogs were later found to have canine parvovirus.
As many as 60 unvaccinated dogs in northern Michigan have died of parvovirus in recent weeks, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reports.
Concerns surrounding incidents of a mysterious “parvo-like” illness were fist shared by the department earlier this month. Experts were initially challenged after dogs with symptoms of the disease (i.e. vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite) tested negative for parvo during initial screening by veterinarians, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) says.
“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,” says the lab’s director Kim Dodd, DVM.
“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,” she adds. “We continue to further characterize the virus in hopes of better understanding why those animals were testing negative on screening tests.”
The affected dogs do not have a history of complete vaccination, MDARD reports.
“Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against this virus are the most at risk,” says Michigan State veterinarian, Nora Wineland, DVM. “Dog owners across Michigan must work closely with their veterinarians to ensure their dogs are appropriately vaccinated and given timely boosters to keep their pets safe and healthy. Protecting Michigan’s dogs is a team effort.”
Veterinarians are encouraged to inform pet owners that canine parvovirus is not contagious to people or other species of domestic animals.
Source: Veterinay Practice News
Image: Veterinary Practice News