At least half a dozen dogs have died recently in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a veterinarian is concerned that the apparent virus can spread from owners to their pets.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Ann Arbor, where Dr. Lindsay Ruland works, has seen many dogs with the symptoms attributed to canine circovirus: vomiting and bloody diarrhea, quick onset of lethargy, abdominal pain and severe inflammation of the intestinal tract.
“This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and I don’t know if it’s multiple viruses in combination or just the circovirus,” Ruland said.
This is the first time the virus has been seen in the metro Detroit area and it's quickly killing dogs.
“Usually within about 12 to 24 hours of it starting,” Ruland told WXYZ.
Dogs with the virus appear to also have owners who are sick. One dog’s owner, who brought her pet to the veterinarian’s office in time for the virus to be treated, said she hadn’t been feeling well for a few days.
“I’ve had this stomach pain that just comes, that’s right beneath my ribs,” Aarika Pederson said.
Ruland reportedly said the symptoms began to show up at her clinic in August, when the human flu season started. Owners of several of the sick dogs had flulike symptoms, she said.
Ruland and some of her staff members developed flulike symptoms after treating the sick dogs, she said. The symptoms included abdominal pain and respiratory issues.
The Columbus Dispatch also reports that the Ohio Agriculture Department has been investigating reports of severe dog illnesses and four deaths in Akron and Cincinnati for more than a month. Samples from sick dogs have been sent to a California laboratory that is studying canine circovirus.