Veterinarians, health officials and dog owners are alarmed by the mysterious recent deaths of four dogs in Ohio. Some experts suspect the dogs may have died a few days after exposure to a virus that’s normally found in pigs.
Three dogs in the Cincinnati area and a fourth dog near Akron died in August after exhibiting symptoms that included vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“We feel obligated to make sure pet owners are aware this is happening,” Erica Hawkins, communications director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, told the Dispatch. “Supportive therapies can be helpful if started early enough.” [10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species]
The three dogs from Cincinnati died last month after staying in the same kennel. The Akron dog that died was one of several in the Akron-Canton area that showed the same symptoms. A stool sample from the Akron dog tested positive for canine circovirus, a recently isolated virus.
A new virus emerges
Circoviruses are spherical viruses (grouped within the family Circoviridae) that are commonly found in birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication Emerging Infectious Diseases. Until recently, the only mammals known to carry circoviruses were pigs.
But in 2012, a 1-year-old dog in California was brought to the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital after being kenneled for three weeks. The dog had bloody diarrhea and was vomiting; because of the poor prognosis, the dog was euthanized and its tissue