LANSING, Michigan — State and federal agencies are investigating an unknown disease that has infected dogs in northern Michigan and killed at least 30 dogs in one county after they showed signs of parvo-like illness.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said it is working with local animal control shelters, veterinarians, the Michigan State University Veterinary Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners on testing to determine the cause of the disease.
The state agency said “several dogs” had developed the same symptoms in the state’s northern Lower Peninsula with a disease similar to parvovirus, which affects a dog’s digestive system and is spread through contact between dogs and contact with contaminated feces. and environments.
A vet told MDARD officials about the treatment of a dog who was vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, a common symptom of canine parvovirus. The agency said that dog tested negative for parvovirus at a veterinary clinic.
The department said it has since heard from animal control agencies in northern Michigan about dogs with the same symptoms, the causes of which have not been determined.
“Investigating the details of unusual or reportable animal disease detections” is an essential part of MDARD’s mission, state veterinarian Nora Wineland said in a statement.
About 30 privately-owned, non-vaccinated dogs in Otsego County, mostly died, said Melissa Fitzgerald, director of the county animal control department. She said it did not appear that the dogs had been in contact with each other.
“It’s scary,” Fitzgerald said. Detroit Free Press. “There are many things that could be.”
Adriana Putravke, who lives in northern Michigan, said that in early July, four of her dogs woke up with bloody diarrhea and an upset stomach. They have all since recovered, thanks in part to the vaccinations they received as puppies.
She said she didn’t work for two weeks in a row because she was worried about leaving her dogs alone, saying her vet was baffled by what made her dogs sick.
“It affected me a lot. I can’t leave them if something happens,” she said. WXMI TV.
MDARD said she was highly encouraging dog owners to work with their vet to make sure their dog is up to date on routine vaccinations. The agency said a highly effective parvovirus vaccine is available to protect dogs from the disease.
More must-read stories from TIME