A Parvovirus Cure for Dogs? Parvo Treatment

A Cure for the Deadly Parvovirus in Dogs?

Meet Divi, a puppy saved from the deadly Parvovirus (Parvo) by a new vaccination recently conditionally approved by the USDA that has been shown to cure Canine Parvovirus.

Divi’s Story

Divi and his litter mates were found in the brush on the side of the road in Aruba and taken in by a US-based rescue that transports island dogs to the US via plane with a designated travel handler. Divi’s handler was Meaghan, who quickly fell in love with her little travel companion and completed his adoption mid-flight.

All seemed well with Divi on the flight and when they arrived home in New Hampshire, Meaghan chalked Divi’s tiredness up to the trip, but the next day Divi was lethargic and sick. Meaghan brought him to her Vet who diagnosed Divi with the deadly Parvovirus and explained that only about 10% of dogs with Parvo live.

What is Parvo? 

Parvo, Canine Parvovirus, is a highly contagious and deadly virus that attacks a dog's intestinal tract. It is spread through infected dog feces. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), and loss of appetite. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. While vaccination is essential for prevention, Parvo can still strike young unvaccinated, or incompletely vaccinated dogs.

Parvo kills approximately 330,000 dogs per year in the US and has a survival rate of only about 10%. Treatment is typically focused on supportive care to manage symptoms and fight secondary infections, with no promise of a positive outcome.

 A Glimmer of Hope for Divi

With the knowledge of Parvo’s high mortality rate and how sick Divi was, Meaghan was offered two options – she could have Divi admitted to the animal hospital for around-the-clock care that may save him, or she could try a new Parvo vaccine the Vet read about that showed positive results in treating Parvo. The only caveat was that he had never administered it to one of his patients. Meaghan went with her gut and asked for the vaccine.

A New Weapon in Fighting Parvo: Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody

The vaccine the Vet was speaking of is from Elanco Animal Health. They have developed a game-changer: Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody (CPMA) – a targeted treatment for infected dogs. CPMA is a single, intravenous dose containing antibodies that bind to the virus, neutralizing it and preventing further damage.

Elanco’s studies have shown CPMA to be incredibly effective. In one study of 28 dogs with Parvo, 100% of dogs receiving CPMA survived, compared to a much lower survival rate in the control group in which the dogs' symptoms were traditionally managed. Additionally, CPMA-treated dogs recovered from symptoms significantly faster, and the virus was shed from a dog’s system in about 48 hours.

A Shot and a Prayer

That evening, a vile of CPMA was overnighted to Meaghan’s Vet and given to Divi. The results were astounding – within 30 minutes, Divi was up and about barking and acting like a normal puppy. Meaghan said she and the Vet were shocked at how quickly it worked to address the symptoms (note: this is just one case, results differ from dog to dog). Within a day, Divi was almost back to normal and although he lost a lot of weight, he was making a complete recovery.

Divi should be immune from Parvo and will no longer need to be vaccinated against it. Meaghan is so thankful that there was a cure for Divi, one that was fast-acting and as well as affordable ($400). She hopes by sharing Divi's story she can help spread the word to the dog world about this powerful new vaccine.

To read more about Elanco’s CPMA vaccine, please visit https://my.elanco.com/us/campaign/parvo 


Written by Amy Schmidt, 4/2/24 for Looseleashes.com blog.

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