Circovirus Information in Dogs

Back in August and September of 2013, Circovirus was suggested as a cause of death/illness of dogs in the outbreaks in Ohio, Michigan, and California, but researchers no longer consider it to be the primary cause of illness.

Circovirus is thought to possibly be a co-infection in some cases but is still being studied to determine if and how it played a role in dogs. It’s important to know that Circovirus has been isolated out of completely healthy dogs. In one study Circovirus was isolated from the stool of 14 out of 204 healthy dogs- so just testing positive for the virus doesn’t mean the pet is going to become sick

In November in Las Vegas, a dog became sick with bloody vomiting and diarrhea at a boarding facility. The dog was promptly taken to a veterinarian, tested negative for parvovirus infection, and treated aggressively with intravenous fluids and supportive care. The dogs’ condition worsened and they subsequently died. Post mortem tests revealed the dog was positive for Circovirus.

Other post-mortem pathogen tests were not performed. With the identification of Circovirus in Las Vegas, pet owners and veterinarians should consider Circovirus in cases of severe gastrointestinal illness, particularly if the symptoms worsen suddenly, if shock symptoms set in, or if bleeding develops into the chest or abdomen cavity.

The identification of Circovirus in a Las Vegas dog is of concern, but should not cause dog owners to panic.

There are a lot of reasons why dogs have vomiting or diarrhea. Here are some tips for dog owners:

Keep your dog current with other recommended vaccinations. A pet with a weakened immune system or not up to date on other infectious illnesses may be at greater risk of illness with Circovirus.

  • Avoid contact with obviously sick dogs.
  • Be watchful for vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Contact your veterinarian if suspicious symptoms arise.
  • Seek prompt veterinary care including intravenous fluids for suspected cases. The early treatment seemed to help improve the survival of sickened pets in the earlier outbreaks.

I invite you to read more information about Circovirus on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s webpage at
AVMA Circovirus-in-Dogs-Frequently-Asked-Questions

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