I received a fax from our emergency center yesterday morning (yes, we were open Memorial Day) about a dog who had died over the weekend. His littermate had died earlier in the day with bloody diarrhea, and he presented to the emergency clinic with the same. He didn’t make it.
A 2 year old dog, dead of parvo. Make that two 2 year old dogs, dead of parvo. Adult parvo deaths are uncommon, but not unheard of, especially in undervaccinated or immunocompromised dogs.
The owners stated their dogs were up to date on vaccines at our clinic, leading the befuddled emergency doctor to postulate this was the new 2c strain of parvo that is much more virulent (their words, not mine). There is a lot of panic in the dog community that there is a new parvo virus that the current vaccines don’t prevent against. Having a previously healthy, vaccinated adult dog come down with parvo is certainly a cause for concern and I can understand why that would be very worrisome.
Only problem is, when I looked at that dog’s history, we never vaccinated him for parvo. The owner had declined every vaccine except rabies. Having a previously healthy, unvaccinated adult dog come down with parvo is, sadly, not unexpected.
Although there was a lot of brouhaha last year when the new strain hit the news media, the current evidence is that the parvo vaccines in use right now do provide excellent protection to all strains of parvo.
You protect your pet against CPV-2c the exact same way you protect your dog against CPV-2a and CPV-2b. Vaccinate your dog. Despite the hype, there is little evidence to support the idea that this strain is any more “killer” than the other ones. There is no “good” parvo virus to get. It’s much sexier to blame some killer mutant virus you had no way to protect your pets from, but the truth is, if you neglect to vaccinate your dogs for parvo and they die a horrible death, it’s not CPV-2c’s fault. It’s yours.