Canine virus worries pet owners

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Questions remain regarding the deaths of four dogs in Ohio last month, who all had the same symptoms.

The Ohio Department Of Agriculture continues to investigate a new virus it thinks is responsible. Pet owners are asked not to panic but be aware of the symptoms.

Youngstown veterinarian Dr. Donald Allen said the circovirus has not been noted in dog species before, so these incidents might be a new virus that crosses species or jumps from one species to another.

The dog of one of our employees at WKBN/WYTV started showing some of the symptoms. Tim Hephner, the husband of the employee, said their 3-year-old puppy Charlie vomited several times two weeks ago. The ODA is asking pet owners to call their veterinarian with similar symptoms and that’s what Hephner did.

“The next morning we ended up calling our vet, and they told us there was a type of flu going around and to give him Pedialyte and that will help him through it,” said Hephner.

Allen said most cases of vomiting or diarrhea in a pet are typically caused by something they ate. But until the ODA can confirm they are dealing with the canine circovirus, dog owners should stay on alert.

“Don’t panic, but if you have real concerns, vomiting, depression, things like that certainly,” said Allen. “If you have diarrhea with blood, you need to get in to see your vet.”

The state wants local vets to submit any samples from dogs they suspect to be infected. Dr. Allen said so far, he has nothing to report from his clinic.

The state is not recommending keeping your dog away from dog parks, but Allen said it couldn’t hurt to be cautious.

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