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State investigating reports of 'parvo-like illness' impacting dogs in northern Michigan

'Our team is working hard to find clear answers.'
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Posted at 1:20 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 09:05:29-04

(WXYZ) — Update: The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development posted an update to their investigation on Monday, saying some of the samples submitted to Michigan State University have come back positive for canine parvovirus, but that more samples are pending. They note they are still in the early stages of this investigation.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development announced Friday that it is working with partners, including Michigan State University, to investigate reports of a "parvo-like illness" affecting dogs in northern Michigan.

According to a press release from MDARD, the state is encouraging dog owners to make sure their dogs are updated on vaccinations. If your dog is ill, the state recommends keeping them away from other dogs and contacting your veterinarian.

MDARD says they recently received a report of a dog in northern Michigan exhibiting symptoms of parvovirus, including vomiting and diarrhea, but tested negative for the virus. The state says they have also received messages from animal control agencies in northern Michigan reporting dogs with the same symptoms. The causes have yet to be determined for all cases.

“Investigating the details of unusual or reportable animal disease detections is a key part of MDARD’s mission,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM, in a press release. “When we learn about these situations, we take action and respond. Understanding all of the circumstances surrounding a case is vital because this information will help us better protect both animal and human health.”

“Our team at the MSU VDL has the expertise to lead this diagnostic investigation, including the detection and identification of potential infectious or toxic causes,” explained MSU VDL director Kim Dodd, DVM, PhD in the press release. “Our work starts with looking for known causes of disease, and if none is found, we’ll explore novel explanations such as new virus variants. Our team is working hard to find clear answers, and we will provide an update when we know more.”

Local veterinarians are advised to contact MDARD if they notice unusual or reportable conditions.

Here's what MDARD recommends to help keep your pets safe:

• Keep up with routine vaccinations (especially for those living in or traveling with pets to the northern Lower Peninsula) by ensuring dogs/puppies are vaccinated against canine parvovirus, rabies, canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis.

• Have dogs/puppies fully vaccinated before interacting with other animals will help to keep them healthy and safe.

• Keep dogs/puppies at home and away from other dogs if they are exhibiting any signs of illness and contact your veterinarian.

• Be sure to clean up after your pet when you’re walking them out in public.

More information can be found here.