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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Canine Medicine: New Parvovirus Strain

By April 29, 2008

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The AVMA released a FAQ in April 2008 about a relatively new strain of parvovirus called canine parvovirus type 2c (CPV-2c). This strain causes the same gastrointestinal signs as the "regular" virus, canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2). These signs may include vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration.

What about parvovirus types 2a and 2b? They are also present, but do not differ enough from CPV-2 to void the protective effects of the parvo vaccination. The new strain of parvo, type 2c (CPV-2c), circumvents vaccine protection because the viral proteins of CPV-2c are just different enough that the body doesn't have antibodies built up to fight it off; as it does with the other strains of parvo. Because of this, some diagnostic tests for parvo may not pick up on the new CPV-2c variant either.

This new strain of parvo is transmitted the same way as the old parvo; by dog-to-dog contact, and the risk is higher for dogs kept in close quarters, such as a kennel. Treatment is supportive, including fluid and eletrolyte replacement therapy, antibiotic support, and management of vomiting and diarrhea.

At this time, there is no vaccine for this new strain, but the currently available parvo vaccine may provide some protection, according to the AVMA research report. Dog owners are still strongly advised to vaccinate their dogs for parvo.

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