By Stephen Rheinberg, HealthDay reporter
WEDNESDAY, August 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Health authorities are investigating a disease that resembles a parvovirus that has killed more than 30 dogs in northern Michigan, most within three days.
Dogs in Otsego County have died after developing symptoms such as vomiting and bloody stools, which are signs of canine parvovirus, but tests have been negative for the virus, according to a Facebook post by the Otsego County Animal Shelter. Parvovirus in dogs is highly contagious and attacks the gastrointestinal tract, with unvaccinated dogs and puppies under 4 months of age at risk.
The disease was first seen in Europe around 1976 but became less common after the development of a vaccine. It can be spread by direct dog-to-dog contact or contact with feces or contaminated environments.
The first cases were seen at the Otsego County Animal Shelter earlier this month. Shelter manager Melissa Fitzgerald said: NBC News More than 30 dogs developed symptoms and all died of the disease. Most of the dogs died within three days, and most were under the age of two.
The disease does not affect some breeds more than others, and similar cases have been reported in northern and central Michigan.
“No one has an answer. My best ‘guess’ is that this is a Parvo strain,” Fitzgerald wrote on the shelter’s Facebook page.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, animal control agencies, the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officials, veterinarians, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have all started investigations into these animal deaths, NBC News mentioned.
Visit the American Kennel Club to learn more about parvovirus in dogs.