Kansas State veterinary school develops tests to identify circovirus in dogs


Veterinary researchers still uncertain about severity of the disease, its involvement in the deaths of several dogs.

The Kansas State Diagnostic Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine has recently developed tests to identify circovirus, a virus that has been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death in infected dogs.

Canine circovirus, also called dog circovirus, was discovered in 2012, but researchers are still uncertain about the severity of the disease, according to Jianfa Bai, molecular diagnostician and assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. It's suspected that the 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 says.

While some dogs show clinical signs, 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 clinical signs. Bai says they can't rule out that circovirus is causing deaths. It's 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.

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