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.
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.