The Ohio Department of Agriculture is working with animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of dog illnesses in the state.
The department's Division of Animal Health has been taking reports of severe dog illnesses in several parts of the state for the past three weeks.
Affected dogs have exhibited similar symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy.
Although there are several known causes of these symptoms in dogs, it is generally believed that there is an unknown contributor to the cases. "While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio's veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case," said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.
As part of its investigation, the department also announced the presence of canine circovirus in a fecal sample taken from an ill dog in the state.
This is the first laboratory detection of canine circovirus in Ohio. Further work is being done to verify the significance of this finding.
Canine circovirus is newly isolated and there is very little information available about the virus, where it came from and how it spreads. The limited research available shows that canine circovirus can cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in infected dogs.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will continue to investigate the situation and urge veterinarians who believe they are treating dogs with similar symptoms to consult the laboratory by calling (614) 728-6220.
The department has also recommended concerned dog owners take standard precautions used to reduce the spread of viral infections, including monitoring the animal closely for signs of illness and refraining from co mingling them with other dogs.