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Authorities from the state and the federal agency are looking into an illness that has affected dogs in northern Michigan and killed at least 30 dogs in one county after they showed symptoms of a parvo-like illness. Veterinarians are racing to investigate whether the illness is contagious and treatable.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that it is working with local animal control shelters, veterinarians, the veterinary laboratory at Michigan State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners on testing to find the root cause.
The key goal of MDARD, according to state veterinarian Nora Wineland, is “investigating the details of unusual or reportable animal disease detections.”
The majority of the affected dogs were under two years old. As a result of the virus, more than 20 dogs have died in the area of the Otsego County Animal Shelter in Gaylord, Michigan. According to a statement from Melissa FitzGerald, the shelter’s director, the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools.
“It’s scary,” FitzGerald told the Detroit Free Press. “There are many things that it could be.”
Adrianna Potrafkey, a resident of northern Michigan, said that four of her dogs had bloody diarrhea and upset stomachs in the early days of July. Since then, every single one of them has recovered, which Potrafkey credits to the shots they were given as puppies.
She said she didn’t go to work for two weeks in a row because she was afraid to leave her dogs alone. She also mentioned that her veterinarian was confused as to what was troubling her pets.
According to MDARD, it is highly recommended that dog owners consult with their veterinarian to make sure that their dog is up to date on all necessary vaccines. Dogs can be protected against parvovirus with a highly effective vaccine, the agency said.