Heads Up: New Mystery Dog Disease

In case you haven't heard, there is a new mystery dog disease going around, particularly in the area of Cincinnati, Ohio. Many officials originally thought it was caused by a newly identified virus, called the canine circovirus. It seems though, that many researchers are now saying that “The primary cause is NOT canine circovirus.” A complete about face from earlier reports.

This whole thing, news about the mystery dog disease, started with at least 3 dogs reported in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, which had died. And then, a little later, more than a dozen other dogs were sickened with severe gastrointestinal problems too.

The gastrointestinal symptoms in the affected dogs include many that are often connected with the canine parvovirus. In these cases, however, all tests for parvovirus came back negative. FYI: some of the symptoms included: nausea, dehydration, bloody diarrhea, extreme lethargy, vomiting and even some neurological issues also.

A new ‘emerging’ canine virus, called the canine circovirus, was apparently the reason, or so researchers thought at first. But the real cause of the deaths still remains a mystery. Officials say dog owners should not panic and the Ohio Department of Agriculture says there is no indication the illness is spreading at this time.

As a Dog Owner, What Should You Do?

If your dog has severe vomiting or diarrhea, or both, then get your dog to your veterinarian immediately. Many things can potentially cause vomiting or diarrhea, but IV fluids and supportive veterinary care can treat almost all these issues if administered fast enough.

Canine parvovirus, often seen in unvaccinated puppies, is probably the most common reason for dogs or puppies having severe bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting. I always suggest you give your puppies at least 2 booster vaccines, for Distemper and Parvovirus, at a minimum.

But if your own dog has issues with mild vomiting and/or diarrhea, then you might be able to treat it at home. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Put your pet on a fast for 24 hours which will allow the dogs intestines to rest and recuperate.
  • Provide access to plenty of fresh water or even ice cubes to keep it hydrated.
  • After the 24 hour fast, introduce a bland food like plain cooked white rice to the dog for the next 24 hours.
  • Then after another day on the rice, start feeding a mixture of 1/2 regular diet and 1/2 bland diet to the dog.  Keep moving the mixture ratio up to less bland, more regular food, until the dog is back on it's regular food, assuming it takes this all right or with no setbacks.

Probiotics are another thing you can add to your pets diet to help restore the natural bacteria in the intestine, that may have gotten out of whack during the entire sick stomach issues. Acidophilus is a great probiotic to give your pet.

Do Not Panic

It still appears that this mystery dog disease is relatively non infectious since only a few dogs have contracted it, which is very good news. Even better, virtually all dogs that did contract this mystery illness have recovered with fast veterinary care.

Lesson learned, here: If you notice that your dog has severe vomiting, and or bloody diarrhea, no matter where you live, then get your dog to your veterinarian ASAP. In many cases, fast veterinary care is exactly the thing that will save your dog's life.

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