Disease-killing dogs in Clare County are similar to canine parvovirus

Local, state and federal agencies are urgently investigating a mysterious disease — which the state said has parvovirus-like symptoms in dogs — that has killed dozens of dogs in northern Michigan.

Animal control officials said Monday the cause is unclear. It’s also not known if it’s linked to canine diseases reported in Europe as early as 2019 – or if it could be contracted by humans.

However, there is no evidence yet that the disease has spread to humans, and so far there is nothing that could link the cases to reported dog deaths in Europe, other than similar symptoms, which experts say are common.

The state department of agriculture said Monday it is now coordinating with local animal control and veterinarians, the state association of animal control officers, the federal department of agriculture and the veterinary lab at Michigan State University and to find out what it is.

The outbreak was first reported in Otsego County.

About 30 dogs — privately owned, mostly unvaccinated — have died in Otsego County alone, said Melissa FitzGerald, director of Otsego County Animal Control. She said it doesn’t look like the dogs have interacted with each other.

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