A client helpfully notified me tonight that Canine Circovirus made the evening news. I’d like to share a bulletin provided us by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. It has a nice summary of what we know and what we don’t know.
Please, don’t panic! The best information we have is indicating that this virus does NOT cause illness on its own. Many states, as well as the federal government, are continuing to work on this possible emerging disease.
Circoviruses are small viruses that have been known to infect pigs and birds. They are also known to survive well in the environment once shed from affected animals. In April of 2013, the University of California, Davis discovered a new strain of circovirus in dogs.
It is important to note that canine circovirus is newly isolated and there is very little information available about the virus, where it came from and how it spreads. The limited research available shows that canine circovirus can cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in infected dogs which can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss.
While there were suspect cases of cirovirus in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is no longer considering canine circovirus as a primary culprit in their investigation. Ongoing sample analysis is searching for new or different viral agents that could be the causes of these illnesses.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has been following up on reported cases of ill dogs displaying vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy to which other diseases were ruled out to see if circovirus is present.
Circovirus is not a reportable disease in Michigan; however, MDARD veterinarians have been working in close partnership with Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (MSU DCPAH), the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, local animal control officers, and private veterinary practioners as we are concerned about the possible presence of this virus in Michigan.
Since a suspect case was identified in Ohio, MDARD has been working to educate animal control officers and veterinarians regarding this virus, including signs and symptoms.
We are still in the very early investigative stages, and MDARD is not prepared at this time to confirm canine circovirus as the cause of the dog illnesses. Additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs.
MSU’s DCPAH is offering circovirus testing in response to concerns about this virus. MDARD is recommending veterinarians contact MSU DCPAH for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case.
This is not known to be a zoonotic disease.
Pet owners are encouraged to follow normal, common sense preventative veterinary medical practices such as vaccinations and regular veterinary care.