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A Mysterious New Disease is Killing Dogs Nationwide:
Keep your Dog Safe
We love our canine companions and we want to keep them safe. Thatís why the recent outbreak of a currently unidentified virus is a scary prospect. Last Friday, (September 13th, 2013), the disease claimed yet another victim- a bulldog in Chicago.
Canine circovirus is the suspected guilty party in the death of several dogs across multiple states, including Illinois and Ohio. Circovirus in dogs can result in bloody diarrhea, dropping body temperature, foamy vomit and chills. Though these symptoms have been reported in victims of the new epidemic, the culprit has yet to be confirmed as the circovirus by veterinarians.
Ohio Agricultural Department Investigates
A statement released by the Ohio Agriculture Department states that the department is diligently working to identify the disease. It also urges veterinarians to contact the department if they begin treating a dog with symptoms in line with other cases so that they might test for canine circovirus. They also urge veterinarians to spread information to prevent the spread of the disease, which you can find in the final section of this article.
Though the Department has confirmed that one stool sample from a dog that suffered from the disease has revealed a definite presence of circovirus, though they are not prepared to announce that it is the cause of the disease in all reported incidents. If the virus turns out to be circovirus, it would indicate that the virus has developed from the more common porcine circovirus in pigs.
The state has reported eight cases of the disease that it is currently investigating, four of which have resulted in fatalities in dogs. A majority of the dogs who suffered from the disease were three to four years old. Circovirus is known to cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in dogs, making it extremely dangerous with a high fatality rate.
Possible Causes of the Outbreak
There are several theories floating around about how the new disease might have developed. If it turns out that it is not canine circovirus, a dubious but possible prospect, it might be a mutagen of the more common canine parvovirus. Circovirus and Parvovirus have very similar symptoms, so it's possible that the viruses are closely related.
Though itís likely that scientists are working to develop a vaccine for the virus, this might cause further complications for dog owners. Some speculate that the disease might have developed from the use of pig cells in dog vaccines, as is becoming common practice. Some believe that canine parvovirus actually developed from use of cat kidney cells in distemper vaccines. This isnít a bad theory, seeing as it is known that parvo is classified as a mutation of feline panleukopenia virus (FPV).
Three years ago Rotarix, a vaccine for rotavirus in children, was recalled after it was discovered to contain circovirus in 2010. This contamination was discovered by an independent research company, not the manufacturers or FDA, so itís important to be careful when considering what vaccinations to give to your pet.
Protecting Your Pet
To protect your dog from the disease, consult with your veterinarian if your dog begins to act strangely and be vigilant to make sure you catch it early. For the time being, you might want to avoid unnecessary vaccines. Itís also important to ensure that your dog has a healthy diet to protect her immune system. Be aware that this disease can progress quickly and that cases of similar incidents have been reported as far as Texas. We hope these tips will help you keep your dog healthy and safe this Fall.