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Monday, September 29, 2014

What is Circovirus And Why Is it Killing Dogs Recently

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake, IL

I have been watching the news lately and a new/old virus is striking down dogs everywhere. This is not necessarily a "new" virus and it has, in the past, mostly affected the pig population.  But now it seems to have "moved" into the dog population.

I thought it would be a good idea to post about this deadly virus so everyone can be aware of it and what to do if you see symptoms in your dog.

A new virus is striking dogs in the middle of the country, and if not treated, it has the potential to kill an infected animal in just days. There's no vaccine. In other animals, it's been highly infectious, and scientists still can't say with certainty how it's transmitted. What is certain is this disease could be deadly, especially in kennel settings. Even though cases have been limited to just three states so far - California, Michigan, and Ohio. 

"They're suspecting the dogs can bleed into their cavities, their chest into their abdomen, and those are some of the more serious ones that would bleed to their deaths," said Dr. Pan.
It's called circovirus. Vets have been aware of it for years but mainly in pig populations - it can decimate a hog farm in just a week. Certain pet birds also seem susceptible, especially parrots, parakeets and cockatoos. What's new is, the virus has never made the jump to dogs - until now.

One of the main problems with circovirus is there's no easy way to diagnosis it. Since it can kill so quickly, sending blood samples off to a lab for testing just isn't practical.

Doctors do know that dogs who are frequently boarded or spend time in "play situations" with large groups of other dogs would be at greatest risk. The bad news is, there's no vaccine to prevent it - no known cure - and to make matters worse, it's still not clear how the virus is spread.

That fact is especially frightening for kennel or doggie daycare operators responsible for a large number of dogs.

Since the disease was only first detected in dogs in 2012, the symptoms aren't set in stone.

Here's what we know: many of the infected dogs had severe inflammation in their intestinal tract, and exhibited varying degrees of lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog exhibits those symptoms, visit the vet immediately, but it's believed that some dogs can be carriers and not symptomatic.

Please keep an eye on your furbabies and if you see any of the symptoms listed above, visit your veterinarian immediately.  It may not be circovirus but take your dog into your vet anyway just to be sure.  

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