Confirmed parvovirus, dogs not fully vaccinated in North Michigan

Update from the State Veterinarian on canine parvovirus cases in Northern Michigan

Update from the State Veterinarian on canine parvovirus cases in Northern Michigan

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Additional testing from the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory determined the illness impacting dogs in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula is indeed canine parvovirus

According to a press release, the dogs affected by the illness did not have a history of complete vaccinations.

“This situation is complex because although the dogs displayed clinical signs suggestive of parvovirus, they consistently test negative by point-of-care tests performed in clinics and shelters,” said MSU-VDL, Director Kim Dodd in the release. 

“Screening tests for parvo are done to help guide immediate isolation, disinfection, and treatment protocols. While those tests are valuable in the clinical setting, they are not as sensitive as the diagnostic tests we can perform here in the laboratory. We continue to further characterize the virus in hopes of better understanding why those animals were testing negative on screening tests,” Dodd added. 

Veterinarians are encouraged to pursue additional diagnostics at the MSU VDL when screening tests for canine parvovirus are negative but clinical presentation is consistent with parvovirus infection, the news release stated. 

"Canine parvovirus is a severe and highly contagious disease in dogs and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus," said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland.

"Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against this virus are the most at risk," said Wineland."Dog owners across Michigan must work closely with their veterinarians to ensure their dogs are appropriately vaccinated and given timely boosters to keep their pets safe and healthy. Protecting Michigan’s dogs is a team effort.We have a highly effective vaccine available to help protect dogs from the virus."

The discovery of these cases should not cause dog owners to drastically change how they care for their pets or where they plan to travel. If dogs are fully vaccinated against canine parvovirus, they are protected against severe illness, but it is important to always consult with your veterinarian, the news release stated adding that the virus does not spread to humans.