LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "We're on the alert for it," Dr. Larry Nafe explained.
It is known as the Circovirus and it is making its way across the country. Cases of dogs contracting the virus-especially in kennel settings have already been reported in California, Ohio, and Michigan. Currently there is no vaccine available to treat the virus and severe cases could kill dogs in days.
"The biggest thing to look for is if their animal becomes lethargic, or starts experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Those appear to be the signs that they're going to see with this particular virus," said Nafe.
Ellie is a Dachshund that was taken to the Hillcrest Animal Hospital after experiencing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Although Dr. Nafe discovered it was not the circovirus, he still urges pet owners to err on the side of caution.
Nafe said, "It's better to get things knocked out early before the animal becomes weak and dehydrated."
The virus is one that has jumped species. It originates in pigs and birds and has mutated. "We're hopeful it's not going to be something that's going to manifest itself in large numbers of sick dogs in this area," Nafe explained.
Although cases have not yet been reported in the central Arkansas region, it does not mean we are in the clear. Veterinarians encourage pet owners to keep all pet areas sanitary. Nafe said, "Dilute Clorox is usually as a general rule a cheap, effective antiviral disinfectant so that's something they can do. So you clean the bedding, clean the area."