New virus could be deadly for dogs

Posted at 9:58 PM, Nov 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-15 23:58:25-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new, and possibly deadly, virus for dogs could be spreading across the country. Cases of Circovirus have been reported in Michigan, Ohio, and California—and Utah veterinarians are now on alert.

But, because the virus is so new, officials don't know much about it.

Pups at places like Brickyard Kennel and the Dog Lodge in the Salt Lake Valley are happy and healthy, but in three other states across the country, the Circovirus is spreading among dogs, especially in kennel settings.

It's still unclear how the virus is contracted, but local vets think it's likely from direct contact with an infected dog or its excrement. For now, there is no cure or vaccine to treat it.

Veterinarian Roddy Sharp said: "The symptoms in dogs apparently are vomiting, diarrhea… It’s very concerning no question about it, you wonder if you're gonna see something that you just can't deal with."

Kennel owner Margie Wakeham said proper hygiene is the best way to keep dogs safe.

"We clean the kennels,” she said. “We disinfect them every single day. We have to. That's what keeps the dogs healthy and safe.”

FOX 13 News caught up with dog owners at a Salt Lake dog park who said there's always a health risk when dogs are exposed in places like that.

"There's always a concern, especially coming to the dog park,” Trent Devenish said. “You're always worrying what kind of viruses or bacteria are lingering there, so yeah, it's definitely a concern."

So far there have been no cases of Circovirus reported in Utah, but vets and local kennels are learning about the virus and doing what they can to keep dogs in their care safe.