West Side Pets News & Notes
State looking into dog illnesses
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) said officials there are working with animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of dog illnesses in the state.
The department’s Division of Animal Health has been taking reports of severe dog illnesses in several parts of the state for the past month. Affected dogs have exhibited symptoms such as vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. Although there are several known causes of these symptoms in dogs, it is generally believed that there is an unknown contributor to the cases currently being seen.
Owners of dogs with similar symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately, ODA officials said.
“While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio’s veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.
Veterinarians also can help by sharing information on what pet owners should look for and how they can protect their dogs.
The ODA also has recommended concerned dog owners take standard precautions used to reduce the spread of viral infections, including monitoring the animal closely for illness and refraining from co-mingling them with other dogs.
“The most important thing dog owners can do is call their veterinarian if they have concerns about the health of their pets,” Forshey said. “Your veterinarian is the best person to help determine if your animal is ill and what steps should be taken to help them recover.”
As part of its investigation, the department also announced the presence of canine circovirus in a fecal sample taken from an ill dog in the state. This is the first laboratory detection of canine circovirus in Ohio.
“The laboratory confirmation is important because the virus is newly isolated; however, we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses,” Forshey said. “Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs.”
Canine circovirus is newly isolated, and there is very little information available about the virus, where it came from and how it spreads, according to ODA officials. The limited research available shows that canine circovirus can cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in infected dogs.
ODA officials said they will continue to investigate the situation and urge veterinarians who believe they are treating dogs with similar symptoms to contact the Division of Animal Health at 614-728-6220.
Medina hosting Rainbow Bridge event
MEDINA — The second annual Rainbow Bridge Walk for pet owners to remember pets that have died will take place Oct. 6 at Buckeye Woods Park, 6335 Wedgewood Road.
The event, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., will be hosted by Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack in partnership with the Rainbow Bridge Walk organization in Medina.
During the walk, participants will walk across a bridge that symbolizes their pet’s journey after its death. Pet owners are asked to bring photos and share stories about their pets. Organizers said the walk helps to give closure to grieving pet owners.
Attendees are welcome to bring their other pets, but they should be leashed at all times. Deacon Joe Loutzenhiser, from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, will give a pet blessing during the event.
Organizers request that attendees bring dog or cat food donations for the Medina County Pet Pantry, which provides pet food for pet owners who may be experiencing financial difficulties.
For more information or to register, go to www.rainbowbridgewalk.com.
Medina students can enter Top Dog contest
MEDINA — Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack is sponsoring the 19th annual Top Dog Contest for all fourth-grade students.
The contest is the kick-off each year for the dog-licensing period, which occurs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31.
The topic once again this year is “Why My Dog Is the Best Dog in Medina County.”
To participate, fourth-grade students must write their own essays, although the contest may be used by local teachers as long as the essays entered have not been corrected by the teacher. Artwork is encouraged, but the essay will be the only part of the entry that is judged.
Children may write about their own dog or another dog, but the dog must be alive and live in Medina County.
The winning entry will receive a dog license for 2014 that is numbered “1,” according to Kovack.
Every student who enters will receive a coupon from Dairy Queen for a free ice cream cone. Winners also will receive prizes from local businesses such as Bil-Jac Foods, Medina Dairy Queen, Medina Skateland, Medina AMC Bowling Lanes and several other companies.
Students may submit their essays through their schools or by mailing them to Auditor Michael Kovack, 144 N. Broadway St., Medina, OH 44256. Essays must be in the Auditor’s Office by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 18.
For more information, call 330-725-9756.
Kathleen Folkerth contributed to these reports.
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