Unknown Viral Outbreak Killing Dogs In Michigan Draws Comparison To Virus Found In Mexico

Officials have not been able to positively identify the cause of the current canine parvovirus-like outbreak blazing its way across Michigan and killing dogs within a short few days, but they have stated that it does seem very similar to cases observed out in Mexico.

Elisa Mazzaferro, an associate professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, stated to The Detroit News this past Monday that the virus took her thoughts back to cases that had been treated by a Mexico City emergency clinician. Melissa FitzGerald. the director of the Otsego County animal shelter, issued statements calling for pet owners to take their pets to a vet as soon as possible if their dog shows any parvovirus-like symptoms: loss of appetite, lethargy, bloody stool, vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Canine parvovirus attacks rapidly, dividing cells, including those of the gastrointestinal tract, and leads to vomiting and diarrhea,” expressed FitzGerald.

Most of the pets that have been infected with the mystery virus end up testing negative for canine parvovirus and even pets that have been vaccinated against the canine parvovirus have been infected with the virus. The virus usually ends up killing the dogs within just three days. As of writing, a total of 50 dogs have been reported as killed by the mysterious illness so far.

Canine parvovirus isn’t contagious to humans or other animals.

This past Monday, it was reported by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) that quite a few preliminary samples from the infected dogs resulted in positive tests for canine parvovirus after their necropsies. Despite the finding, MDARD did not seem to attribute the outbreak to canine parvovirus officially. Nora Wineland, a State Veterinarian, spokes out to clarify that they had just launched their investigation and were awaiting additional results.

“We are still in the early stages of this investigation, but some of the first samples submitted to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory were positive for canine parvovirus. However, there are more results pending and more to be learned,” stated Wineland.

Kim Dodd, the Michigan State University (MSU) Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) director, also spoke up and stated to MLive that both the university and the state would together “explore novel explanations” such as new viral variants if they did not successfully identify the source of the outbreak.

MDARD officially announced its planned intervention in the outbreak just this past Friday.

The first of these recent cases cropped up in Otsego County, just before it spread out to Clare County.

As explained by the Otsego County Animal Shelter via a post to Facebook, most of the dogs who came down with the mystery illness were under two years old and died within three days. As of Monday, Fitzgerald clarified that they have not yet heard of any survivors at all.


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