A disease known to rarely affect two species, makes a bizarre sudden jump to pet dogs.
Startling reports of a new deadly virus infecting dogs have arisen in the media in the past month. It’s said to be highly contagious for dogs and can kill them in just a few days. Currently, there’s no viable veterinary treatment available, because no one even knows entirely what this is yet or how it spreads. Tests for it take weeks to get results, to no avail for the pet who has it.
Strangely, it is confined to three states – California, Ohio and Michigan. It was actually first detected in dogs in 2012. Although, media reports such as one coming out of Arizona seem confident that it will make its way across the United States, undoubtedly causing panic for dog lovers everywhere. Symptoms include severe intestinal inflammation, varying lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea and vomiting.
For now, it is being labeled in dogs as circovirus which is actually a name to describe the largely unknown small viruses seen in other species. It is suspected that the infected dogs have serious internal bleeding – major systems like the chest bleeding into the abdomen and areas that lead to internally bleeding to death.
Veterinarians have known it to affect pigs – wiping out a hog farm in a week. Pet birds, too – like parrots, parakeets and cockatiels – have shown signs of this disease. But only now is the sudden arrival of an interspecies jump to domesticated dogs.
A Cincinnati, Ohio kennel called The Pet Spot saw four dogs stricken ill. There are also reports coming from Ann Arbor and Detroit. This is a major concern for the pet housing industry and perhaps animal hospitals. But not all researchers are convinced about what it is or if it should induce panic. In nearly 70% of animals tested with suspect circovirus, they showed signs of other disease-states such as parvovirus. The American Veterinary Medical Association has released a FAQ to comfort pet owners.
Since this disease is just surfacing, solutions haven’t been suggested yet, but if it is as big of a public health threat as purported, one can imagine some extreme measures. Reports show an emphasis on the lack of a vaccine.
Interspecies disease transmissions have been discovered before in some questionably creepy research studies involving injection of the virus into the brain of another species. One unsettling thought that I cannot shake is how strange it is for this disease, seen in hogs, to suddenly appear in Michigan where the DNR is dead-set on eradicating what it deems “invasive species” – i.e. domesticated heritage hogs that people rely on for pasture-raised meat.
Please consider helping your pet with holistic health to build its immunity.
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