Is Circovirus the Latest Threat to Our Canine Companions?

We love our dogs, and we’ll do anything to protect them. It can be terrifying to think that our dogs’ health could be put in jeopardy by something we can’t even see, but it happens all the time. Parvo, distemper, and many other life-threatening diseases are caused by microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye.

When a new microorganism is recognized, we worry that it will be dangerous for our beloved canine companions. It’s hard to fight the initial panic, especially when you hear rumors that this newly discovered thing has caused illness or even death in other dogs. These rumors tend to spread like wildfire, regardless of whether or not they have any truth to them.

Recently, there have been many media reports, Facebook posts and tweets about a newly discovered circovirus in dogs. Some dogs in several areas of Ohio developed vomiting and diarrhea, and some died. When circovirus was found in the stool of one of the dogs, circovirus was suddenly implicated as the cause of the illnesses and deaths. But the truth is that this new circovirus has NOT been confirmed as the source of the illnesses and deaths.The cause remains unknown, but the investigation is ongoing.

There’s still a lot to be learned about this circovirus, and we’ll update our resources as we receive and validate information. In the meantime, though, nothing beats good ‘ol common sense when it comes to prevention. If your dog is sick, consult your veterinarian and don’t let your dog mix with other dogs. Use caution and reduce your dog’s risk by reducing his/her exposure to unfamiliar dogs or dogs that seem even mildly ill.

7 thoughts on “Is Circovirus the Latest Threat to Our Canine Companions?

  1. I just wanted to let you know that my 4yr old healthy golden retriever just passed and was confirmed to have circovirus and a rare candida guilliemondii. He began with swelling in his hocks and then 5 days later began vomiting and bloody diarrhea and passed that same day. A necrospy was performed at Michigan State. The findings are still inconclusive to COD. I’m completely frustrated because there are no answers to my questions. He passed on 11/27/13 and necrospy was performed on 12/2/13 to 12/6/13. I was told that there had to be something else wrong with my dog to die the way he did because the circovirus is opportunistic.

    • So sorry to hear that, Kim. That is very sad news. It’s also a very unusual presentation, based on the info we’ve seen.I wish I could tell you that all of your questions will be answered, but it’s very possible that they won’t. A necropsy often provides very good information, but it is not always the end-all,be-all that will tell you the exact problem. I sincerely hope that it does in your case. Based on the info we have to date, they are correct in suspecting a primary cause. Circoviruses in general are opportunistic. Thank you for letting them do a necropsy, because even if it doesn’t provide you with the answers to all of your questions, they will learn things that could greatly benefit other pets. It can be a tough decision to allow one to be done, but it can be very helpful. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope you can take comfort in the memories you had of your life together and know that you were lucky to have each other.

  2. I have a pit bull between the age of 9 and 11 weeks. I havent had the money to do it. Anyways he is really sick like dieing. I have no money but i can be set up on payment plan. Please help……..

    • I’m sorry, Amanda, I just now saw your post. We don’t provide financial assistance for veterinary care, but there are organizations like Red Rover ( that do. We can’t recommend or endorse any of them, though, because we really haven’t evaluated them. I hope you were able to get your pup the care he needs.

  3. Larkin, I’m sorry you feel that way, but the information in the post is accurate. I can’t make people read the post, and the headline is meant to get people’s attention and hopefully get them to read the post and then read the FAQs. The information in the FAQs linked from the post is also accurate. Our podcast interviews Dr. Forshey about this outbreak, and he makes it clear that circovirus has not been confirmed as the cause of the outbreak, or even that it was the cause of illness in the dog in which it was found.

  4. Circovirus has only been implicated in ONE of the Ohio deaths (which are not clinically similar to the acknowledged canine circovirus deaths in California) and the state veterinarian at the Ohio Department of Agrigulture, Tony Forshey, has been adamant that they don’t know the role, IF ANY, that circovirus played in the deaths of the Ohio dogs. He has gone so far as to say that if it played a role, there is also some other factor, as yet unknown, that contributed to the deaths of these dogs. Given all that, it strikes me as highly irresponsible of you to run this release under the heading “Is Circovirus the Latest Threat to Our Canine Companions?” Because most people won’t read the article, they’ll just think, “yes, it is.” This is misleading at best and at worst, is distracting for people who are working to get to the real answers in this Ohio health scare. Please either change the title or delete the post entirely.