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Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory


Test your Canine Parvovirus IQ


1. Currently in the U.S. there are three canine parvovirus (CPV) “strains” causing clinical disease; CPV 2-A; CPV 2-B; and the newer CPV 2-C.

FACT: While CPV 2-B the still most common US identified strain, the newer CPV 2-C is currently the most common strain found in infected Kansas dogs. CPV 2-C was first diagnosed in the U.S. in 2006 and is the most pathogenic strain, and usually involves a higher percentage of infected puppies and adults, with more puppy deaths than the two older CPV strains. Some puppies with CPV 2-C die acutely from myocarditis before they develop the typical bloody diarrhea.


2. Feces involving Parvo virus infections have a characteristic smell.

FICTION: The smell is “bloody stool” and several diseases have bloody stools including parvovirus such as; coronavirus, coccidiosis, giardia, E.coli, hookworms, clostridium sp., salmonella and intestinal obstruction.


3. A NEGATIVE parvo ELISA “site-test” rules-out canine parvovirus infection.

FICTION: Recent studies and several KSVDL CPV cases have confirmed the “site tests” result in approximately 20% false negatives for all three CPV variations.


4. Determining the specific “strain” of canine parvovirus (CPV 2-A, CPV 2-B, or CPV 2-C) can be accomplished by most laboratories.

FICTION: It is a complex laboratory PCR procedure and few diagnostic laboratories have the ability to perform this test.The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has the ability to determine which strain is present in Parvo associated cases.


5. At necropsy, the gross appearance of the intestines and contents will confirm canine parvovirus infection.

FICTION: This used to be a fact … but is now not always true when dealing with the newer CPV 2-C strain. In some cases the intestines will look normal with no bloody diarrhea present.


6. When the completed final pathology report indicates the dog had CPV, then the dog definitely had parvovirus infection.

FACT: The pathology report including histopathology should be considered definitive for canine parvovirus infection with one additional confirming test being completed such as: IHC (immuno-histo-chemistry), PCR, electron microscopy, virus isolation or fecal ELISA testing.


7. There is one BEST parvo vaccine on the market that will protect against all three CPV strains... so every dog should be immunized with that particular vaccine.

FICTION: There are a number of excellent parvo vaccines and protocols available that will provide good protection against all three CPV strains.

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