I was forwarded a newspaper article last week which was about a hemorrhagic diarrhea outbreak affecting the canine population of a local shelter. From what I could read, canine parvovirosis was suspected. Nothing unusual unfortunately I would say: parvovirosis is among the most common diseases shelters have to routinely face. But something else caught my attention: it was written somewhere “there’s no risk for the cats”. To me, that did not sound totally right. Why? Because of this new viral strain, called CPV-2c …
CPV stands for Canine ParvoVirus: this highly contagious -and often fatal, especially in puppies and non-vaccinated individuals- enteritis found in dogs can be caused by strains of CPV-2 . As you can guess from what you just read, there are not one, but several strains of this terrible virus: CPV-2, CPV-2a, CPV-2b and also this strange CPV-2c I am writing a post on.
CPV2-c was originally isolated in Italy in year 2000, has rapidly spread and is now one of the major isolate worldwide. It is present in North America. Bad news also for shelters, this strain can also infect cats. From a clinical standpoint, it causes the same hemorrhagic enteritis that is observed in animals suffering from panleukopenia. [BTW, panleukopenia is a viral disease, usually caused by a feline parvovirus (FPV)].
Good news, we are still able to detect this CPV-2c strain with our actual diagnostic tests, and recent data also showed that apparently our current vaccines are also efficient. Important as well: no need for genetic sequencing of the virus involved in dogs and cats positive for parvo infection, if CPV-2c is involved the treatment needed will be the exact same like in any “parvo situation”.
In shelters, when dealing with a parvo outbreak, specific sanitation measures usually have to be taken (isolation of affected individuals, use of specific disinfectant, monitoring of the foot traffic inside the facility,…). Therefore always keep in mind that dogs AND cats are susceptible to this new strain (as well as ferrets and raccoons): limiting these measures you take to only one species could be a big mistake…
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