Circovirus Linked to Death of Dogs

DAVIS —

Pets are more than our best friends, they’re family. So when word broke of a deadly new dog virus, it struck panic in pet owners across the country.

But according to one UC Davis researcher, it may not be the circovirus that’s killing these dogs.

“This is not a situation where they should be really scared about a newly immigrant pathogen that is suddenly getting to our dogs,” said Patricia Pesavento, Associate Professor of Pathology at UC Davis Vet School.

Dr. Pesavento and her team at UC Davis are studying the virus in animals that are sick and healthy.

They aren’t convinced the virus is the sole reason for the dog deaths.

“It’s possible that 10 dogs could have it and one of them will get sick because there is something else going on. They might be old, they might have a weekend system, and they might have a different virus with them,” Pesavento said.

But that doesn’t mean our pets are in the clear.

Dr. Pesavento says it’s important to know when something’s off with your dog.

“If they are concerned they should go to their veterinarian and ask what to look out for and whether or not the vet feels like they are at risk,” said Pesevento.

Doctors believe dogs spread the virus while greeting each other nose to tail.

Pesavento says there is no reason to limit your dogs from going to dog parks or playing with other dogs. Just keep your dog up to date on vaccinations and healthy and you’re most likely safe.