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Northern Michigan dogs dying from disease similar to canine parvovirus

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Some dogs are getting sick and in some cases die because of a disease. Some of the sick dogs test positive for canine parvovirus while others don't.

State officials said Monday that they're working with veterinarians to determine what’s killing dogs in some areas of the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

This appears to be canine parvovirus, they said. In a Facebook post, the Otsego County Animal Shelter noted some of the dogs that have died did not test positive for parvovirus. Most of them have been young dogs. The best guess is that it’s a unique strain of parvo.

“We’re still in the early stages of the investigation, but some of the first samples submitted to the Michigan State University lab were positive for canine parvovirus,” explained Chelsea Lewis-Parisio, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

She said people should watch their dogs for any signs of the disease.

“The symptoms that people should be looking for is if their dog is vomiting or has any diarrhea. Just keep a close eye on that and to work with their veterinarian.”

The state advises that you make sure your dog’s shots are up to date. Clean up after your pet if you take them for a walk. And if they show any signs of the illness, keep them away from other dogs.

Parvo is highly spreadable among dogs.

In a news release, MDARD said it is working with animal control shelters, area veterinarians, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and other partners to learn more about the situation.

Canine parvovirus is not contagious to people or other kinds of animals.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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