There have been recent illnesses in dogs traced to a new virus called Circovirus. This class of viruses has been known to infect pigs and birds for decades, but is new in dogs. The first report that confirmed this viral infection in dogs was in June of 2012 in California. There have been recent reports in Michigan and Ohio, some are confirmed and others are not yet. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, possible abdominal pain and lack of appetite. These can be symptoms of many other intestinal diseases as well, and any dog with symptoms like this should be seen by your veterinarian. There is no vaccine at this time for canine circovirus, and it is so new it is not on our common list of differentials for sick dogs. Testing can be done, but only at certain laboratories right now. It is likely spread through a contaminated environment, or by direct contact with a sick dog or its bodily excretions. That is why it is important to keep sick dogs and their bedding away from your pets, especially puppies or older dogs who may have compromised immune systems. Basic good hygiene and cleanliness should be observed, but not only at your home. Be careful about taking your dog to the groomer, doggy daycare, and dog parks, too. Places where excellent sanitation is not practiced should be avoided. There is a reported suspicion that this may be transferable to and from humans as well. One emergency clinic veterinarian in Michigan feels many of the suspected circovirus cases have come from homes where people have experienced flu-like symptoms recently. As of this time, however, that is not proven. For more information, please see the American Veterinary Medical Association's website page.
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