GAYLORD, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Otsego County Animal Shelter in Gaylord is reporting that dogs in the county have been getting sick and dying from an unknown illness over the last month.

They issued a public service announcement on Tuesday on their Facebook page.

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The symptoms that the dogs have include throwing up and having bloody stool. These symptoms mimic the Parvo virus but when taken to the vet, the tests have been coming up negative. The sick dogs usually pass away about three days after getting sick and the dogs are mostly under the age of two.

Reports of these sick dogs have come from different parts of the county including Vanderbilt, the City of Gaylord, as well as south and west of Gaylord.

Blood tests and a necropsy done at Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lansing yielded no answers. Some of the dogs were vaccinated.

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The animal shelter has been in close contact with Hall Vet and other vets in Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Mancelona and Indian River to try to figure out what is wrong with the dogs. They’ve also talked to the state veterinarian and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Their best guess about the illness is that it’s a strain of Parvo and the Otsego County Animal Shelter is recommending that dogs get their needed vaccinations and are taken to the veterinarian at the first sign of illness.

Comments on the Otsego County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page as well as the community page called “Gaylord Helping Gaylord” shows a lot of dog owners have had sick dogs recently and they are trying to figure out what is going on.

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A dog owner named Willow Pines has warned people about going to the Gaylord Dog Park where her two dogs got sick and her Border Collie Bella passed away recently.

Her post sparked a whole host of other people discussing dog deaths in Otsego county. Speculation is in abundance on the Facebook pages with dog owners trying to figure out if there is a common link between the sick dogs and whether it is the dog park, the same veterinarian, food, going to the beach, or something else. Diagnostic speculation is also plentiful with questions about Coronavirus, Parvo, bluegreen algae or some other ailment.

According to pet websites that discuss dog illnesses, bloody stool in vomiting can come from several conditions which include things such as canine coronavirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, intestinal obstruction, Parvo, parasites, changes in a dog’s diet, poisoning, tumors in the stomach or esophagus, viral and bacterial infections, and stomach ulcers.

It’s unknown if these sicknesses and deaths are limited to the Otsego county area. Michigan News Source reached out to the Bay Area Pet Hospital in Traverse City which operates as the city’s emergency clinic. They were asked if they were having above average number of cases that presented as a flu or Parvo case. They said that it is a
busy season for those issues and that it’s “maybe a bit increased” but it varies every year.

Summer, in general, means that dogs are out more, interacting with people, places and other dogs making them more susceptible to injuries and illnesses because of that increased exposure to outside elements.