2001-Sat Dec 10 03:50:06 EST 2016
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
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!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
Christmas trees, fatty foods and other
seasonal items may bring cheer to your
home, but they'll cause harm to your…
Dr. Sarah Wooten takes a closer look at
this curious sleeping habit and what it has
to do with canines’ ancestry.
The Kromfohrlander is said to be
descended from a mixed-breed dog
who was a mascot for American troops.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.