Pet owners beware: Potential parvovirus outbreak, here's where and what to know

A northern Michigan animal shelter recently posted a public service announcement informing pet owners of a possible parvovirus outbreak.

According to the Otsego County Animal Shelter, reports of the outbreak have included Otsego County, Vanderbilt, the City of Gaylord, west of Gaylord and south of Gaylord.  

Veterinarians within Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Mancelona and Indian River have been in close communication on the matter, according to the Otsego County Animal Shelter. A necropsy was done at Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lansing with no definitive answer in the results to the illness other than an educated  "guess" that it's a possible strain of the parvovirus. 

"There have been many dogs over the last month that have gotten sick with what appears to be the symptoms of the parvovirus, which has included vomiting and bloody stool," said the Animal Shelter's Facebook post adding that "most of these dogs have passed within three days."

Some of the dogs affected were vaccinated, and the ones who passed away were under two years of age, stated the Otsego County Animal Shelter. The increase in canine deaths is under review. Experts recommend that pet owners stay up to date on vaccinations and contact a veterinarian with any signs or symptoms of illness.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral gastrointestinal virus, according to the Michigan Humane. Some breeds, such as rottweilers, Dobermans, and pit bulls, are more susceptible to the disease and is transmitted through oral ingestion of the virus, which is shed and deposited from the stool of infected dogs, and, therefore, may be more common in areas where large numbers of dogs congregate. 

For additional information, contact Melissa FitzGerald, Director of Animal Shelter- Control, at (989) 705-7632.