Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 26.1 GI tract

Canine parvovirus

Published 24/03/2021

Written by Nicola Decaro

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a small, non-enveloped virus consisting of a spherical capsid (composed of three proteins, VP1, VP2 and VP3) containing a linear, single-strand DNA molecule that encodes for two non-structural (NS1 and NS2) and two structural (VP1 and VP2) proteins. 

Electron microscopy image of negatively stained parvovirus particles (X25,000 magnification).

Key points

Canine parvovirus is the main cause of acute gastroenteritis in young puppies and is found worldwide.


Three antigenic variants have completely replaced the original strain, with distribution varying according to geographic area.


Typical clinical signs include vomiting, hemorrhagic diarrhea, and leukopenia; mortality rates can reach up to 60-70% in infected kennels and shelters.


In-clinic assays for diagnosis are poorly sensitive, and additional testing using PCR-based methods may be required.


Treatment is mainly supportive therapy, although several antiviral agents have been tested.


Vaccination of puppies is still the most effective strategy to control infection, despite possible interference from maternally derived antibodies and suspected mismatching between vaccine viruses and field strains.


Introduction

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a small, non-enveloped virus (Figure 1) consisting of a spherical capsid (composed of three proteins, VP1, VP2 and VP3) containing a linear, single-strand DNA molecule that encodes for two non-structural (NS1 and NS2) and two structural (VP1 and VP2) proteins. VP2 is the major capsid protein and is responsible for virus antigenicity 1 2. The nomenclature of the family Parvoviridae has been recently revised, with CPV being included in the unique species Carnivore proto-parvovirus 1 along with feline panleukopenia virus (FPLV) and other related carnivore parvoviruses 3.
 

Figure 1. Electron microscopy image of negatively stained parvovirus particles (X25,000 magnification). © Nicola Decaro

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