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Illness sickening Michigan dogs is parvovirus, tests find

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An illness that has sickened dogs in northern Michigan, killing some of them, was found to be canine parvovirus, a common ailment the affected dogs were not fully vaccinated against, state officials said.

The ailing dogs displayed clinical signs suggesting they had parvovirus but had "consistently" tested negative at veterinary clinics and animal shelters, said Kim Dodd, director of Michigan State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

"While those tests are valuable in the clinical setting, they are not as sensitive as the diagnostic tests we can perform here in the laboratory," Dodd said Wednesday in a news release.

She said testing confirming the canine parvovirus infections in affected dogs in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula was done at the university's lab in Lansing and facilitated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

"We continue to further characterize the virus in hopes of better understanding why those animals were testing negative on screening tests," Dodd said.

State Veterinarian Nora Wineland urged dog owners across Michigan to work with their veterinarians to ensure that their canines "are appropriately vaccinated and given timely boosters to keep their pets safe and healthy."

"We have a highly effective vaccine available to help protect dogs from the virus. Dogs that are not fully vaccinated against this virus are the most at risk," she said in a statement.

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