Monday, September 9, 2013

This is important information for anyone who has a dog. Please read all of it carefully.

I am sure many of you have been following reports on the local news in recent weeks on a number of cases of dogs becoming ill and in some cases dying of what appear to be similar symptoms involving the GI tract.  Several of these dogs attended a local Cincinnati doggie day care.  It appears very likely that the Ohio State Veterinarian will be making an announcement this week about a possible link between the cases and a cause.
At this time, it appears that a new virus called the Circo virus has been identified in the feces of a number of these dogs.  This virus is from a family most commonly seen in pigs and may have mutated to the form that is being identified.  It appears that there is only one report in the literature (dated April 2013) of this virus occuring in dogs previously.  It is important to remember that, while the virus may have been found in the stool, to the best of my knowledge at this time it has not been definitively established to be the cause of the disease.  While this certainly seems likely given the info we have available right now, it also is not unusual for animals to shed viruses in their stool that may not be causing disease.  It may be quite some time before we can definitively say that this is the cause of the current cases, but the evidence at this time appears compelling enough to take some precautions.

At this time it is probably safe to assume that dogs can become infected through exposure to other dogs' feces.  Direct transmission from pigs is not thought to be likely;  however other forms of transmission (airborne, etc) and how long it persists in the environment are not clear at this time.  It is also not immediately clear just how contagious this virus is.  While new viruses often times spread quickly because none of the dogs in a population have any natural immunity, in at least some of these cases other dogs exposed to the sick dogs did not appear to become ill.  There is no vaccine available at this time.  Most or all of the cases involved are from Ohio, particularly the Cincinnati and Akron/Canton areas.  However, it is very likely there are cases in other areas that have not been identified yet.  I think we probably can thank the veterinarians at Medvet Cincinnati, one of the local specialty and emergency clinics to which we refer, for their part in helping to work with the Ohio state veterinarian to identify this disease. 
For now, please watch your dogs carefully and call us if you see any bloody diarrhea and vomiting usually in conjunction with extreme lethargy or even collapse.  In some cases there may be unusual ulcerated lesions on the skin and in the mouth.  I would suggest avoiding local dog parks for the next few weeks until more information is available.  For dogs who board, groom, attend day care, training classes, or shows, be particularly vigilant for any symptoms.  If possible exercise your pets in lesser used areas and clean up their stool immediately when attending these functions.  If you have very young, very old, or immune compromised pets, keeping them at home and if possible isolating them from animals who travel to the above places is advisable.
Remember that we are in the middle of the worst of our flea season.  We recommend Trifexis monthly heartworm and flea prevention for dogs and Comfortis flea prevention for cats.  This monthly pill kills fleas for 30 days and is by far the most effective flea control we have seen. 
Allergies are also in full force and if your dog is licking his feet and scratching his ears, he very likely is suffering from seasonal allergies.  Call our office today and we can help!
Corn on the cob is still delicious and readily available, but remember it is a very common foreign body that needs to be removed from a pets' intestines!  Save yourself a big bill and possibly your pet's life;  remove your corncobs immediately from the table to a secure trash can in an area your pets cannot access.  For some reason they are irresistible!
Many of our clients recently were involved in the Time Warner buyout of Insight and this may have affected your email addresses.  We have attempted to add a second email to your account with the same prefix, but substituted for the insight address.  I understand that the insight addresses may still work for some time, so you may actually receive two of this email.  If you are involved in this changeover, please call our office and confirm your current email address with us. 

Please call our office at 331-4848 if we can answer any further questions.  Remember, email is not the best way to reach us in a timely manner and we do not schedule appointments by email. 
Thank you!
Dr. Becky Golatzki and the Edgewood Animal Clinic staff

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