New Parvovirus Treatment

NDSU Microbiology
by NDSU Microbiology

Guest Blogger, Sierra Shoman, VMS Undergrad

As an animal rescuer, I see health problems in abandoned, unwanted pets all the time, but the worst of these issues, e.g. infections with the rabies virus, distemper virus and parvovirus, are all preventable when correct vaccination is used. Many pet owners, however, do not understand how important these vaccines are. All three viruses cause disease in dogs, and all three usually end up killing the infected dog. Simple vaccines can keep your pet’s immune system up to par and prevent the devastating effects that these viruses cause.

The parvovirus, specifically, is highly contagious and produces life-threatening illness. It attacks a dog’s most rapidly dividing cells. This causes major damage to the animal’s intestinal tract and white blood cells. Dogs infected with parvovirus show symptoms of lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea, which leads to life-threatening dehydration. The virus is transmitted by contact with infected feces, and it can live for months on objects in the environment.

So why am I telling you about parvovirus and why should you care?

There has been a huge breakthrough in the possible course of treatment for this virus. As with most viral infections, the course of treatment was previously just supportive care, until now.

A company called Avianax, located right here in North Dakota, made this amazing discovery. Avianax discovered a drug that could possibly cure parvovirus. They discovered this drug while doing research on an illness killing large numbers of geese in the area. While conducting this research, they developed a special antibody technology that fights the disease killing geese.

This new technology was used to develop a new antibody based treatment called parvoONE. This treatment is harvested from the yolks of goose eggs and has so far shown a 90% cure rate. This is a HUGE success from the usual mortality rate of parvovirus.

Although vaccination is the best way to prevent your dog from contracting parvovirus, it is great to see new technology being developed to help out animals that are taken in by rescues, animals that usually have unknown vaccination history.

Parvovirus Image: Nephron. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

This entry is part of the MICR 354 (Scientific Writing) student-blog series.