If you have had a puppy with parvovirus, you probably know how difficult it is to cure the disease sometimes. It is not something you can treat at home.
Canine parvovirus is a very common cause of morbidity and mortality in dogs. The disease is especially prevalent in younger dogs. And, despite being a virus with quite a history, it keeps changing its genetic structure.
The continued evolution of parvovirus is the reason it is now more resistant and virulent. In this article, we will introduce parvovirus and give you information on how it affects dogs. In addition to explaining the disease, we will also provide basic data about treatment and prevention.
What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a disease that occurs in dogs. It is caused by a very small, non-enveloped virus composed of a single strand of DNA.
These viruses are part of a large family that infects mammalian species. They use the nucleus of cells to reproduce their viral genome.
The infection and replication usually occur in the epithelial cells of the intestines. It can also occur in the spinal cord in heart muscle cells.
While using the cell to replicate, the virus also causes cell death. The infected cell cannot divide, as the virus is using its replication machinery.
The virus has a tropism for certain organs, which means that it prefers some over others. That is why parvovirus has very specific clinical manifestations that we will see later in the article.
History of Canine Parvovirus
What we know as parvovirus is also known as canine parvovirus type two (CPV-2). This virus was first described in dogs in 1967. It was discovered as a cause of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.
Initially, it was called the minute virus of canines. Later it was given the name canine parvovirus type I. More recently, it was called canine parvovirus type II.
Since 1980, after an outbreak of the disease, it began to spread and become common in all parts of the world. After that time, parvovirus has stayed as a frequent cause of disease in puppies without a vaccine.
Some argue that canine parvovirus type II is an evolution of a virus that causes feline panleukopenia. Other studies point to another similar ancestor that infects carnivorous animals. The fact is that it mainly affects young dogs with high morbidity and mortality.