Circoviruses are small viruses that survive well in the environment once shed from affected animals. There’s a canine circovirus that was first detected in the USA in 2012, but there’s still a lot to learn.
Dogs infected with circovirus may show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and even death.
“Last year in Ohio and California, some dogs died of diarrhea and they couldn’t figure out the causing agent because those routine diagnostics could not pick up any pathogens that are potentially causing the diarrhea deaths,” researcher Jianfa Bai said. Bai is a molecular diagnostician and assistant professor at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Kansas State Diagnostic Laboratory has recently developed tests to identify circovirus. Researchers are still unsure how deadly this disease is. While some dogs show symptoms, 3 to 11 percent of the dogs tested at the diagnostic laboratory have been confirmed as carrying the pathogen — but are healthy and do not show symptoms.
Bai says they can’t rule out that circovirus is causing deaths. It is also possible that the deaths are caused by a combination of circovirus and another disease.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that your dog is checked by a veterinarian if they are vomiting or have diarrhea. Your vet can contact the laboratory at 866-512-5650 if they want to submit samples for testing.