At least one Ohio dog event has been canceled because of a mysterious illness that state agriculture officials are investigating. But officials still know little about a newly detected virus that they think might be behind the illness.
At least one Ohio dog event has been canceled because of a mysterious illness that state agriculture officials are investigating.
But officials still know little about a newly detected virus that they think might be behind the illness.
Erica Hawkins, communication director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said yesterday that samples from three Akron-Canton-area dogs suspected of having the illness, including one that died, are still being tested at a California laboratory.
“It’s not going to be a quick process,” she said.
The city of Miamisburg near Dayton decided not to take a chance on spreading the disease. It canceled Sunday’s Canine Carnival, which was to feature dog contests, a dog parade and dog-play areas.
Three dogs in Cincinnati and one in the Akron-Canton area have died in the past month after showing similar symptoms. The Cincinnati dogs all had been at the same kennel.
The veterinarian for the Akron-Canton dog has successfully treated two other dogs with similar symptoms. She reported the cases to the Agriculture Department because of their similarity to the Cincinnati cases.
Agriculture officials asked veterinarians a week ago to alert them to cases showing symptoms that include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. The department also warned owners to take dogs with the symptoms to a veterinarian immediately.
Although the department has heard from more dog owners and veterinarians, the department has not identified additional cases or sent more samples to the laboratory at the University of California-Davis, Hawkins said.
Dr. Tony Forshey, the state veterinarian, has not determined the cause of the Ohio dog deaths, she said.
The prime suspect is the canine circovirus, which was identified this year by a California researcher studying samples from a dog that died in that state. Little is known about the virus, but it can cause hemorrhaging and vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels. The ill dogs in the Akron-Canton area had those symptoms.
Neither the Franklin County Dog Shelter nor the Capital Area Humane Society is canceling dog events because of the illnesses, officials said.
“We’re not in a place where we need to panic right now,” said Dr. Laurie Millward, chief veterinarian for Capital Area. “I think it’s way too early to be changing our habits. The scientists need to figure out what’s going on.”
Millward said she doesn’t think dog owners need to keep their pets from socializing with other dogs.
“But if you see a dog that looks sick, keep moving.”