Author: Diane Hansell, guest posted on Pet Pantry Harbor Springs  

If you’re a dog owner, you have to be concerned about the Parvo like virus that is moving through Northern Michigan. Over 30 young dogs have died from this disease. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and bloody stools. And if not treated quickly, it can be fatal for dogs. And today, the state veterinarian confirmed, it is Parvo virus.   

The confusion came into play because the dogs were testing negative in the quick Parvo test. But when tested in the lab test, the dogs have all tested positive. And, after further investigation, none of the dogs had completed the complete vaccine protocol.   

Parvo is nothing to take a chance on. It is preventable by simply getting your puppy vaccinated (the entire protocol) and then boosted for the rest of your dog’s life.   

Fom the statement issued on August 24th from the state veterinarian: “Canine parvovirus is a severe and highly contagious disease in dogs, but MDARD and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “We have a highly effective vaccine available to help protect dogs from the virus. Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against this virus are the most at risk. 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.”   

“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, DVM. “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.”   

MDARD is encouraging all dog owners to take a few simple steps to protect their animals: Keep up with routine vaccinations by ensuring dogs/puppies are vaccinated against canine parvovirus, rabies, canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis by a veterinarian.   

  • Have dogs/puppies fully vaccinated before interacting with other animals to keep them healthy and safe.
  • Keep dogs/puppies at home and away from other dogs if they are exhibiting any signs of illness and contact your veterinarian.
  • Be sure to clean up after your pet when you’re walking them in public.

Canine parvovirus is NOT contagious to people or other species of domestic animals. The disease is common in Michigan and is not required to be reported to the state veterinarian’s office. The bottom line dog lovers…. don’t be an anti-vaxxer with your dog. It’s to big of risk to your dogs and other dogs you come in contact with   

Article Written by Diane Hansell, Re-Published with permission by Pet Pantry in Harbor Springs