There is a deadly virus infecting the canine population that many have yet to even hear about.
Referred to as canine circovirus, this aggressive virus produces flu-like symptoms and can be fatal within 12 to 24 hours.
So far, cases of the virus in dogs have been reported in California, Ohio and Michigan.
Tracy veterinarian Dr. Thomas Ross said any dogs with bloody vomit or bloody diarrhea should be taken to a veterinarian promptly.
"This is brand-new stuff that is happening," Ross said. "This type of virus is more common in pigs. It looks like this virus is passed through direct contact."
Rob Warren, communications and marketing officer for UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, said researchers have looked at tissue samples but need more information to draw a conclusion.
"We don’t know exactly what is causing the death of these dogs," he said. "Some dogs have tested positive for canine circovirus, but others have not."
Dogs that have been infected by the virus have shown symptoms that include a lack of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy — a lack of energy or weakness.
John Wu, hospital director of Family Pet Hospital in Stockton, said the evidence he had seen was inconclusive.
"We have seen cases of dogs with these type of symptoms, but at this time we can not confirm that it is canine circovirus," Wu said. "Other viruses, such as canine parvovirus (parvo), start off with similar type symptoms. The testing needed to confirm canine circovirus is expensive, and owners would rather spend the money on treatment, such as IVs and antibiotics."
One thing is for sure: If your dog develops the type of symptoms listed above, please do not wait to have him or her checked out.
• Anne Marie Fuller, a Tracy arts commissioner, Mrs. California Beauties of the Nation and National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation, is also the host of "Helpful Hints with Anne Marie" on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.