Ohio ag department working to identify cause of dog illnesses


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture is working with animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of dog illnesses in the state.

The department is also urging veterinarians in the state to contact the Division of Animal Health if they suspect any animals in their care are suffering from the same disease.

The department’s Division of Animal Health has been taking reports of severe dog illnesses in several parts of the state for the past three weeks.


Affected dogs have exhibited similar symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. Although there are several known causes of these symptoms in dogs, it is generally believed that there is an unknown contributor to the cases.

“While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio’s veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case,” said state veterinarian Tony Forshey.

Veterinarians can also help by sharing information on what pet owners should look for and how they can protect their dogs. Owners of dogs with similar symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately.

The department has also recommended concerned dog owners take standard precautions used to reduce the spread of viral infections, including monitoring the animal closely for signs of illness and refraining from co-mingling them with other dogs.

“The most important thing dog owners can do is call their veterinarian if they have concerns about the health of their pets. Your veterinarian is the best person to help determine if your animal is ill and what steps should be taken to help them recover,” said Forshey.

Canine circovirus

As part of its investigation, the department also announced the presence of canine circovirus in a fecal sample taken from an ill dog in the state. This is the first laboratory detection of canine circovirus in Ohio. Further work is being done to verify the significance of this finding.

“The laboratory Iconfirmation is important because the virus is newly isolated, however we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses,” said Forshey.

“Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs.”

Limited information

Canine circovirus is newly isolated and there is very little information available about the virus, where it came from and how it spreads. The limited research available shows that canine circovirus can cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in infected dogs.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will continue to investigate the situation and urge veterinarians who believe they are treating dogs with similar symptoms to consult the Division of Animal Health by calling 614-728-6220.


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  1. I had a 19yo healthy chihuachua untilMay 31st. In the middle of the nite he started vomiting white bubbly mucus..He had eaten a late supper so I thought he had a stomach prob and gave him some pepto bismal. He had a normal consistancy bm but vomited again. My vet did’nt open until 8a and I was there at 7a waiting.Had I had known there was such a disasterous disease out there I would have taken him to the er vet instead of waited. His Dr. saw him put him on 02 an IV in place and told me he could not get any bld. He had given him 3 pain shots as he was suffering terrible. I went back took him in my arms and had him given the medicine to end his pain, this was at 10am. Dr. thought was possibly HEG. When I heard about this new disease I started to question people I would see walking a dog..Two fellas I spoke to each had a pet that died of unknown circumstanses. One three mo.ago and one 11/2 mo ago..they exhibited same symptoms. One did’nt make it to the vet and the other had his border collie to med vet as soon as he noted his bldy diahrea and vomit. It was a sudden onset, had not been ill at all
    I live in a small town and to come in contact with two individuals who had similar experiences tells me this is not good. I have been heartsick since this has happened and pray that somehow I will be able to know what my boy had contracted and how and how we can help these little guys…I have another chihuahua at home, much smaller and 8yo a rescue…I have kept a close watch on him and he is not ill so far..Please don’t give up until you find the devil that is causing this………….A so broken hearted Mom…………

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