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Local Vet Reacts to Parvo-like Virus Killing Northern Michigan Dogs

A virus similar to parvovirus has been infecting and killing dogs in northern Michigan.

Michigan State University is still investigating, but as of Monday, the first samples submitted for testing were in fact positive for canine parvovirus.

Walter E. Bungard DVM of the Atlanta Veterinary Clinic hasn’t seen any cases yet but neighboring counties have, and it’s a cause for concern. “I’ve been a veterinarian for the last 37 1/2 years. It’s just the worst thing a dog can go through,” he said.

Some of the symptoms in common with parvovirus include blood in the stool and vomit and in a majority of cases, death. “I’ve had years were I’ve had 20-25 animals in my clinic,” said Bungard. “They’ve been on IVs and we’ve done everything we can do for them to support them and 80 percent of them die.”

The best way to prevent a dog from catching the virus is to make sure they’re vaccinated. “I guess the primary thing to think about and for folks to understand is, if the dogs are vaccinated correctly and appropriately, they should be fine,” Bungard said.

Along with vaccination, dog owners are encouraged clean up after them when in public and keeping them away from other animals’ waste. If a dog is showing signs of illness, owners should keep it away from others and contact their veterinarian.

So far dozens of dogs in northern Michigan have died because of this virus.