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Mystery Dog Illness In Michigan Identified but Questions Remain

There has been a lot of talk and questions regarding the dog illnesses in Northern Lower Michigan. If you haven't heard about this mystery illness, here is a short review of it. This illness has many symptoms similar to parvovirus such as vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The illness has killed upwards of 60 puppies and dogs in Northern Lower Michigan at the time of this writing. Puppies and dogs with this illness are dying within 2-5 days. When tested for parvovirus in the veterinary setting with the basic screening tests, the tests are coming back negative for the parvovirus. People have been uneasy and scared for their furry family members. With good reason, we don't know much about it, until now. There is still much to figure out but we now have SOME answers. This afternoon, the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory (MSU VDL) has made a statement regarding the extensive testing they have been doing in order to answer questions regarding these illnesses that have been sickening and killing puppies & dogs in Northern Lower Michigan.

MDARD and MSU VDL have found that the illnesses the puppies and dogs have experienced in that particular area of Michigan is indeed parvovirus. They specified that the dogs that were affected did not have complete vaccine histories. In other words, they were not fully vaccinated &/or current on their vaccines. They still are unsure why the in-clinic screening tests for parvovirus are coming up negative for the virus though and are continuing to further research this particular parvovirus. MSU VDL director, Kim Dodd, DVM said, “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.”

At the time of this writing there are no known cases of this particular parvovirus illness in the Upper Peninsula but it doesn't mean it can't make it's way up here. Below are the recommendations from the Michigan State Veterinarian presented by MDARD to help keep your puppies and dogs safe during this time. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, Compassionate Pet Care is here to help answer your questions and help you anyway we can. Give us a call or send us an email. And if your dog is behind on their vaccinations, please call your regular veterinarian to schedule a time to update your dog's vaccines.

MDARD's full official statement can be found here.


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