Mystery illness is killing young dogs in Michigan

OSTEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN) – Veterinarians in Michigan are investigating a mysterious illness that is killing young dogs.

The symptoms are similar to parvo, but the unvaccinated animals keep testing negative for the virus.

“Based on the cases that have been confirmed at the diagnostic lab, those animals were not adequately or vaccinated at all,” Michigan State Veterinarian Nora Wineland explained.

The symptoms include bloody stool, vomiting, acting lethargic and then dying several days later.

The negative parvo tests have veterinarians questioning what this illness could be.

“That is the question of the hour and something that we’re working on really hard to get an understanding of. We’ve done limited sequencing,” Director Kim Dodd said. “We’re going to do a little more additional sequencing to get a better sense of more specifics, the specific characteristics of this particular isolate.”

Dodd said they are in the early stages of the investigation and are encouraging veterinarians to send samples from animals they believe could have this illness.

“The more testing we can do, the more definitive we can be,” she explained.

Wineland suggests dog owners be vigilant in keeping up with vaccinations and being mindful of where their dogs go.

“If you have a dog, don’t take your dog places where they’re likely to encounter sick, or unvaccinated animals, if you can possibly avoid it,” Wineland said. “And practice good hygiene. Pick up after your dog, don’t let your dog be sniffing into fecal matter left behind by other dogs because that’s a great way to spread a disease that you don’t want.”

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About 30 dogs in Michigan have died from this illness so far. No other states have reported a similar syndrome.

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