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Mystery Dog Illness Identified

The illness that has been sickening and killing dogs in the northern Lower Peninsula has been identified as canine parvovirus. 

Initial screening tests had come up negative for parvo, but more sensitive tests performed at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory detected the virus.

The number of dogs that have died from the illness has now passed 60. State officials say many of those dogs did not have a history of complete vaccination. Most of the victims have been under the age of two.

There is a highly effective vaccination against parvovirus.

Canine parvovirus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools, and it can cause death within several days. It is highly contagious, and can be spread by contact with feces from an infected dog.

Officials are encouraging dog owners to make sure their pets are fully vaccinated and boosted.

Canine parvovirus cannot be spread to humans.

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