LANSING, Mich. — The state veterinarian confirmed Wednesday that the illness impacting dogs in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula is canine parvovirus.
This comes after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) facilitated additional testing completed by the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL).
The state says the affected dogs did not have a history of complete vaccination against the virus.
“Canine parvovirus is a severe and highly contagious disease in dogs and veterinary professionals have extensive experience with this virus. We have a highly effective vaccine available to help protect dogs from the virus. Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against the 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.”
The state says dog owners should not drastically change how they care for their pets or where they plan to travel because of the discovery of these cases.
If dogs are fully vaccinated against canine parvovirus, they are protected against severe illness, but the state says you should also talk with your vet.
MDARD encourages dog owners to take the following steps to protect their animals:
“This situation is complex because although dogs displayed clinical signs suggestive of parvovirus, they consistently test negative by point-of-care tests performed in clinics and shelters. Screen 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.”
The state encourages veterinarians to pursue additional diagnostics at the MSU VDL when screening tests for canine parvovirus are negative but clinical presentation is consistent with parvovirus infection.
Canine parvovirus is not contagious to people or other species of domestic animals.
The city of Kalamazoo announced Wednesday that it will postpone the Bark in the Park event due to the outbreak.
The event was planned for Friday, August 26. The city did not yet say when it plans to reschedule.
Kzoo Parks has not been advised to close Fairmount Dog Park, so that is open to use at the owner's discretion.