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New Dog Disease Reported in Michigan

Oct 04, 2013 03:31 PM EDT

A relatively new canine disease that has sickened dogs in California and possibly Ohio has been found in Michigan.

As of Oct. 3, two cases of canine circovirus have been identified in Michigan, according to a news release by the Michigan State University's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (DCPAH).

The virus was identified from two samples from sickened dogs, however, the dogs were also afflicted with other diseases, so it was unclear whether the new canine virus was the cause of their sickness.

In Ann Arbor, veterinarians told The Associated Press that they have treated a number of dogs that showed symptoms of the circovirus; some of those dogs died.

Symptoms of canine circovirus include vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea.

"It is important to note that circovirus has been found in the feces of healthy dogs. Also, the initial research shows that nearly 70 percent of dogs showing clinical signs of illness and found positive for circovirus were also infected with other viruses or bacteria known to cause disease," said CPAH acting director Thomas Mullaney.

"Currently, circovirus by itself is not associated with a specific disease process. However, coinfection with canine circovirus and other pathogens may have the potential to cause disease as has been demonstrated in other species, for example pigs," he said.

The DCPAH said the presence of the virus in Michigan is "not cause for panic" for dog owners, adding that veterinarians need only consider a possible circovirus infection after other more common causes of the symptoms have been ruled out.

"Dog owners whose pets show signs of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, should contact their veterinarian and seek diagnosis and treatment," the DCPAH said. "There is no evidence to-date that canine circovirus can be transmitted to humans or cause human disease."

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