dogThere has been a lot of talk recently about a fairly new virus called circovirus. Although it is not widespread, dog owners should be aware of it.

From Speaking for Spot:

Some angst is brewing amongst dog lovers because of a newly discovered infectious agent called canine circovirus. This angst is justified as circovirus is suspected to be the cause of recent severe illness and even death in some dogs.


What is circovirus?

Circovirus have been around for a long time, but documentation of this microorganism in dogs is new. Pig farmers are all too familiar with circovirus which causes poor growth, a “wasting away” syndrome, and death in piglets. Circovirus can also cause disease in a variety of bird species.

While the circovirus found in dogs resembles pig circovirus, they are not identical. This canine version was first discovered in June, 2012. At that time it was not determined to be a cause of disease, simply an incidental finding in healthy dogs.

In April, 2013 circovirus was first reported as a possible cause of illness in dogs by researchers in California. Most recently, circovirus was found in the feces of a number of sick dogs in Ohio. These dogs had severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy. Some of these dogs passed away in spite of aggressive therapy.

Although circovirus has been isolated from apparently healthy dogs, the consensus now is that this virus is very likely a “player” in the severe gastrointestinal illnesses reported in California and Ohio. Whether the symptoms these dogs exhibited were due solely to the circovirus or the virus acting in conjunction with another microorganism is unknown.

For more information, visit Speaking for Spot.

While New York dog owners need to be aware of this new virus, veterinarians at the Veterinary Medical Center of Central New York don’t think New Yorkers need to be overly concerned at this point. However, all dog owners should stay educated about the virus, and get their dog to a veterinarian if they become ill.