Now that the Ohio Department of Agriculture has ruled out circovirus as the cause of the mysterious dog deaths in Ohio, canine activities are beginning to return to normal in parts of the state. In my home county (Stark), a dog park has re-opened, but a recent Humane Society Mutt Strut was cancelled due to the risk of infection.
According to the Enquirer, (from Cincinnati, where most of the infected dogs were found), the symptoms of the disease are common to many other dog ailments, but the speed with which the dogs deteriorate is unique and scary. One of the dogs who died did test positive for circuvirus, but many otherwise healthy dogs also carry the bug.
For now, the recommendation is that Ohioans keep their dogs isolated from crowds of dogs until the illness is identified. However, dog parks are cautiously re-opening. The only documented cases of this illness outside of Cincinnati were in Canal Fulton, a small town in northern Stark County. Canal Fulton City Manager Mark Cozy reasons that whatever is making dogs sick isn’t “a pandemic,” and sees no reason to keep the park closed. It re-opened last week. The daycare and boarding facility where the illness seems to have originated has been disinfected, tested, and re-opened.
In Ohio, circovirus – which is contracted by eating infected feces – has been ruled out, which means the recent cases of circuvirus in Michigan are likely unrelated.
For now, the best advice seems to be to keep an eye on your dog. If he or she develops vomiting or bloody diarrhea, seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Supportive treatment with fluids is helpful, and some dogs have benefitted from a blood transfusion. Make sure your vet reports the incident to the Ohio Department of Agriculture for follow-up, in addition to reporting to your own state’s animal health authority. Samples from sick dogs are being sent to University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine for analysis. To date, all known canine illnesses have been ruled out, but the investigation continues.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!