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Veterinary diagnosticians using test to determine severity of new dog disease

Wednesday, April 2, 2014



MANHATTAN – There's a new disease lurking at the dog park.

Canine circovirus, also called dog circovirus, was discovered in 2012; however, researchers are still trying to determine the severity of the disease, according to Jianfa Bai, molecular diagnostician and assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dogs infected with circovirus may show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and even death. It's suspected that this disease may have been responsible for the deaths of several dogs in 2013.

"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," Bai said.

The Kansas State Diagnostic Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine 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.

Samples can be sent to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to test for canine circovirus. For more information, contact the laboratory at 866-512-5650.

Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

Molecular diagnostician uses newly developed test to determine if a the dog circovirus is deadly.