Parvo Virus. New Stains.

In the late 70s and early 80s all dog owners dreaded any news of the new disease called parvo virus. This new disease has been with us ever since but to a large extent has been controlled by vaccination. In 2000 a new form of the disease was discovered in Italy. The virus had changed . This change is referred to as antigenic drift . Some viruses change very little and others change quickly . For example the rabies virus had changed very little over the last 100 years but on the other hand human flu viruses seem to change regularly. The new variants of parvo virus are named CPV-2b and CPV-2c and are actually quite different from the older CPV. The vast majority of new cases of parvo virus disease are either 2b or 2c.

The variety or strain is not of interest to most people however the protection ability of the current vaccines is a concern.It was thought that the older vaccine would give sufficient protection against the new form of the disease. Some researchers are now concerned that the protection given by the older vaccine is significantly lower then originally expected. This means that dogs are at risk from the newer strains of parvo virus. There have always been cases of parvo virus  locally but in the last two years we have experienced an increase in the number of cases. I have not sent any fecal samples away for analysis but the new strains are now the predominant isolates for samples that have been tested.

The issue for dog owners is a little confusing because many believe that their pet is protected when in fact the older vaccines are not giving sufficient or adequate protection and this certainly applies to the three year vaccines. The Italian experience has been that this time the smaller breeds have been more frequently affected than the large breed dogs. Please ask your veterinarian what they advise. At Carrington Animal hospital we have been using  Duramune which contains the new isolate and provides the most updated protection against the new strains.

If your pet  is overdue or you are unsure what the current status is  then please endeavour to catch up and ask about the vaccine which is being administered to your pet .Parvo virus is capable of causing extreme illness and your pet should be protected.