Click here to learn more.
Some angst is brewing among dog lovers because of a newly discovered infectious agent called
canine circovirus. This angst is justified as circovirus is suspected to be the cause of recent severe illness and even
death in some
dogs. Just this week, two dogs in Michigan tested positive for the microorganism.
Circoviruses have been around for a long time, but documentation of this microorganism in dogs is new. Pig farmers are all too familiar with circovirus, which causes poor growth, a “wasting away” syndrome and death in piglets. Circovirus can also cause disease in a variety of bird species.
While the circovirus found in dogs resembles pig circovirus, the two are not identical. This canine version was first discovered in June 2012. At that time it was not determined to be a cause of disease, simply an incidental finding in healthy dogs.
Circovirus was first reported as a possible cause of illness in dogs by researchers in California, and it was found in the feces of a number of sick dogs in Ohio. These dogs had severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea and lethargy. Some of these dogs passed away in spite of aggressive therapy.
Although circovirus has been isolated from apparently healthy dogs, the consensus now is that this virus is very likely a “player” in the severe gastrointestinal illnesses reported in California and Ohio. Whether the signs these dogs exhibited were due solely to the circovirus or the virus acting in conjunction with another microorganism is unknown.
The route of canine infection isn’t known with certainty, but it is suspected that circovirus is spread directly between dogs via feces or vomited material. Circovirus in pigs can be spread through respiratory secretions. This route of contagion has not been ruled out in dogs. Some of the Ohio dogs who tested positive for circovirus were recently boarded or spent time at doggie day care.
Signs of illness thought to be caused by canine circovirus are lethargy and severe vomiting and diarrhea. These are nonspecific signs, meaning they can occur with a wide assortment of medical issues. If your dog has severe vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to get your veterinarian involved. Prompt treatment can help prevent dehydration and increase the likelihood of recovery.
If your dog is a frequent flier at a boarding kennel, doggie day care facility or dog park, I encourage you to be just as “heads up” as you normally would be in order to protect your dog’s health. Inspect the facility for evidence of cleanliness, proper sanitation measures and the presence of healthy-appearing animals.
A new canine virus has been discovered, and our current understanding of its behavior and significance is very limited. More studies of canine circovirus are in progress, and I am confident we will have much more certain information in the near future. For now, there is no need to do anything more than take good care of your dogs — something I am sure you are already doing! We will keep you apprised of any new developments.
Prior to this, what have you heard about canine circovirus?
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Donations are pouring in for Kenny, a
Husky-Shepherd who fractured his front
legs after falling over a 150-foot…
Photographer Maria Sharp’s beautiful
tribute to her 16-year-old dog, Chubby, is
touching hearts all over the…
From the Mastiff to the Great Dane, these
large dogs might look intimidating, but
they tend to be total softies.
Google Street View lets you see the land
where Jane Goodall began her
groundbreaking work with chimpanzees.
Dr. Marty Becker shares easy steps for
cleaning your feline’s ears and checking
for infections or mite infestations.
A frustrated reader asks for help with his
adopted dog, who hasn't made much
progress in his obedience skills.
No one wants to spend October 31 at the
vet ER. Here's what you can do to
prevent common Halloween hazards.
The Russian Blue won’t mind if you have to go to work (to earn money for cat toys), as long as you're back in time for…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.