Here’s how Parvo-like illness is affecting young dogs in Michigan

Dozen of dogs got sick up north with 20 of them dying

The state of Michigan Friday night warns pet owners about a mysterious illness affecting young dogs. The warning came after dozens of dogs got sick at a shelter up north, with 20 of them dying. The reports of sick dogs are out of Otsego County, and university labs are starting to run tests to get to the bottom of it.

OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. – The state of Michigan Friday night warns pet owners about a mysterious illness affecting young dogs.

The warning came after dozens of dogs got sick at a shelter up north, with 20 of them dying.

The reports of sick dogs are out of Otsego County, and university labs are starting to run tests to get to the bottom of it.

On Aug. 9, Otsego County Animal Shelter made a post announcing that dogs have gotten sick to what appears to be parvo over the last month.

“Parvo is an infectious disease virus of dogs that can have pretty high mortality, especially in younger dogs,” said Director of MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Dr. Kim Dodd

The symptoms are there; most of the dogs were younger and passed away within three days, but their parvo tests returned negative.

Now Dr. Dodd at MSU has decided to look closer.

“We’ve received samples from a small number of dogs, and of those, several have tested positive for parvovirus,” said Dodd. “So we do know that there are some dogs infected.”

It’s unclear why they didn’t come up positive initially, but Dodd says this is just the start of testing, and he hopes to have more data next week.

And while it’s miles away, it’s a stark reminder for dog owners in Detroit.

Be very conscientious making sure that he’s up to date in his vaccines, and our vet is very good about letting us know,” said one woman.

“Always give them shots at least once a year to keep their vaccination up,” said one man.

State of Michigan Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland says that’s not all dog owners can do.

“Pay attention to if their dogs are not looking well to get that checked out,” said Wineland. “And to keep their dogs away from areas where there may be sick dogs.”

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About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.