A Mystery Illness Has Killed Dozens of Dogs in Michigan

20 dogs had been reported dead by the time the mystery illness was first detected in a Michigan county.

Dogs owners in two Michigan counties fear a mystery illness that has infected and killed dozens of dogs already.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has informed pet owners to take extra precautions in keeping their dogs safe from this mystery illness as they investigate the virus present in the northern region of the Lower Peninsula, according to Wood TV.  

This mystery illness was first spotted in Otsego County, where 20 cases occurred, and all 20 dogs died, according to the Clare County Cleaver. Clare County also had eight cases of their own, the outlet reported.

The illness is said to cause similar symptoms as the canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that affects the gastrointestinal tract in dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

“We thought we were fine; we had not had any deaths. As of today, from last Thursday [Aug. 11] until now, we’ve had over 30 dogs die of a virus, a disease – not at the shelter – in the county,” Clare County Animal Control Director Rudi Hicks said according to the Clare County Cleaver. 

“It mimics Parvo, so it’s vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and they all died within three days: vaccinated dogs and unvaccinated dogs.”

The MDARD has reportedly partnered with the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) to help test samples from the infected and dead dogs to learn more about the virus. 

The samples the lab received came back positive for the canine parvovirus, but they say it is still too early to confirm anything as some results are still pending, according to the MDARD. 

In order to ensure the detection and slow the spread of this virus, the MDARD, MSU VDL, local animal control agencies, the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers, and local veterinarians have all partnered up and are working together to figure out more about this "parvo-like" virus, according to MDARD. 

In a recent Facebook post, the Otsego County Animal Shelter clarified some information about this virus, informing people that, “this does NOT affect certain breeds more than others. There has not been one specific place in Otsego County where the dogs have been. This is not just Otsego County.”

The shelter is advising dog owners to “PROPERLY vaccinate your dogs.  If your dog comes down with symptoms described above please call a veterinarian ASAP.”

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