Department of Agriculture looks into deadly dog illness; Tests detect little-known canine circovirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Agriculture continues to investigate the cause of a mysterious dog illness.

Cases of a mysterious illness have been reported across the state over the past three weeks. Symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. Our sister station in Cincinnati reported at least three dog deaths in that area that month because of the illness.

The department said they are working with health expects and urging Ohio veterinarians to contact the Division of Animal Health about suspected cases. Owners who notice the symptoms in their pets should immediately contact their vet.

"While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio's veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case," said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey in a news release on Friday.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture said tests from one of the ill dogs revealed canine circovirus, which is the first detection of it in Ohio. Little is known about canine circovirus, but it can cause hemorrhaging or vasculitis, which is a disorder that destroys blood vessels.

"The laboratory confirmation is important because the virus is newly isolated, however we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses," Forshey said. "Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs."

In Stark County's Plain Township, the Schneider Dog Park is closed until further noticed for renovations and as a precaution to protect pets from the illness, the township said.

WCPO reported in August that a doggie day care in Hamilton County shut down after four of the dogs it handles became ill.

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