Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Stop the madness.....Circovirus

by User Not Found | Sep 26, 2013

Have you heard about Circovirus?  I have, a lot.  If you’ve read a newspaper or watched any sort of news program lately, you’ve probably heard about the drama following this little devil virus.  Well because I love you all, I’m going to give this little story much more time than it should have.  It is unfortunate that we should be spending our time explaining why there is NO NEED TO PANIC!  If you’ve picked up a newspaper or watched TV lately, you know that journalism and news reporting has become less about accurate reporting and more about throwing out eye-catching, panic-inducing headlines at the speed of light.  In most cases, these headlines are followed by very little detail that’s also very vague.  So take most things you hear with a grain of salt, or barrel or whatever.

Here’s what you should actually know about this story.  It all started with a food recall by P&G (you remember, back in August) due to the possibility of, what else, Salmonella contamination.  A kennel in Ohio learned that several dogs who had been at their facility in the last few weeks had become sickened with a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis type disease.  Sadly, three of those dogs died.  Since the kennel staff had no idea what could have caused this, they began investigating.  They realized that their food supply was Iams and that it might be part of the recall.  Thanks to the wonders of social and local media, that became……HOLY CRAP, IAMS DOG FOOD IS KILLING DOGS!

The only problem is, it wasn’t.  The kennel owner worked with the company to track down lot numbers and review the recall records and discovered that the food that they were feeding was indeed not part of the recall.  In fact, it wasn’t even manufactured in the same factory.  Since the kennel was currently still investigating the cause of the illnesses, they enlisted the help of microbiologists and other toxicity experts to examine and sample every inch of their facility.  Just like a scene from CSI, well at least that’s how I imagined it.  Then back to the lab with their samples where they were picked apart, spun, mixed, and shaken (not stirred) looking for any possible illness causing bug.  There was none.  Such kennel was cleared to open and life goes on.

Now a bunch of very smart (perhaps too smart) researchers and veterinarians get involved because they want to help.  In their discussions, someone says, “hey I remember reading about this virus once that killed a dog a few months ago.  It was weird because it was a virus that we usually see in pigs.  Let’s test dog’s for it.”  Meanwhile, the news media is a little disgusted with the lack of story that this is turning out to be that their new headline becomes…..OH MY GOD, A SCARY NEW PIG VIRUS IS KILLING DOGS!

The truth is, only one dog has tested positive for circovirus and you may not have heard that because the samples are actually being sent to California to a professor at UC Davis.  The other problem is that testing for viruses, it takes much longer than anyone has patience for, i.e. 4 days.  So by then the media was moving on to their next disaster.

Bottom line…..we don’t know much about this virus except that it exists.  More bottom line, we also don’t know what made these dogs sick.  The big circovirus kahuna did his homework and not only found circovirus in dogs with diarrhea, but also in healthy dogs.  The sick dogs, they had some other bugs as well, so you can see it’s clear as mud.  The only thing our experts are willing to say at this point is that it may or may not cause disease.  Great.  Enter losing game show music for the media storm that was circovirus and its now not news-worthiness.  The only way to get people to pay attention is to insight mass panic and nothing stirs that up like something contagious and deadly right?  Then they just leave everyone hanging without resolution.  Enter me and now you know.  We have enough to worry about, so don’t seal yourself in a bubble and stay at home, just get the facts from reliable sources.

Step 1: Do not torch your local dog park

Step 2: The number of reported cases of circovirus is miniscule, so if you are worried about it and your dog is out running around past due on his parvo booster, you might want to re-focus your attention.

Step 3: Call your vet if your dog is sick!  Who cares what’s causing it, I mean relatively speaking, if your dog has bloody diarrhea, you should be at the vet, immediately.  This has not changed just because there is a new virus floating around.

Step 4: Know your risk.  Understand that humans or canines are more at risk for disease spread in places that are crowded, like buses, shopping malls, dog parks or pet stores.  I’m not saying you should avoid these places, but if you or your dog aren’t feeling 100%, it might be a good idea to try to avoid such environments.

So now you are educated and aware of circovirus.  Don’t feel bad, most if not all of the news pieces on this virus have painted a much different picture.   So keep an eye out, but remember don’t believe everything you read.

Cheers!

Katie 

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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