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St. Clair County dogs sickened, killed from parvovirus; officials warn about mysterious illness spreading through US

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Nov. 29, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Nov. 29, 2023 03:57

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - As health officials warn people about a mysterious dog illness spreading throughout the country, St. Clair County residents are also alerted of the increase in canine parvovirus cases.

The St. Clair County Animal Control has seen 11 cases of the parvovirus in deceased or sick puppies, senior dogs and adult dogs with compromised immune systems over the last two weeks. The cases were in pets in Port Huron, Port Huron Township and St. Clair. 

"Parvo is every new puppy and dog owner's worst nightmare," said Melissa Miller, director of the St. Clair County Animal Control. It is a highly contagious, but preventable disease that causes severe gastrointestinal illness in puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs. Part of what makes the virus so dangerous is the ease with which it is spread through the canine population."

It spreads through direct contact and feces, and infected dogs can spread the illness before they begin to show symptoms. 

Common symptoms shown in infected dogs include severe, bloody diarrhea, not eating or drinking, vomiting, weakness, dehydration, lethargy and a fever. 

"Any or all of these symptoms merit a call to your veterinarian, Miller said. "Even if Parvo is not the cause, the symptoms could be the result of another illness that requires veterinary attention."

Animal control officials are reminding pet owners to ensure their puppies and dogs are vaccinated. 

This comes as a mysterious respiratory illness is affecting dogs across the United States. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the cause of the illness is unknown, but officials are urging people to be aware of their pets' health and contact a veterinarian if they show symptoms of sickness. 

Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire have seen cases of the illness, and there is a suspected case in Royal Oak

Suspected case of mysterious dog illness in Michigan 01:49

MDARD encourages animal shelter and kennel staff to follow vaccination protocols with new dogs. 

In addition, veterinarians are urged to contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 if they see unusual symptoms in animals. 

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