Friday, April 13, 2012


Most of my "vet school revelations" end up over on the endurance blog, but today I learned a most amazing fact. 

Parvo wasn't found in dogs until 1978.


The disease that was THE puppy disease at the clinic at worked at - what we warned our clients about, the reason we recommended that puppies be carried into the clinic and not go anywhere until they were finished with their puppy boosters (not good advice BTW - it IS possible and NECESSARY to socialize puppies before their boosters are done) - yes, the disease I lived in fear of when I had to let Tess out of the car on the way home from Oregon so that she could pee.  THAT disease wasn't even in dogs until I was almost born. 

There's a very similar disease in cats that causes panleukopenia.  Apparently, cats having lived with this disease for a very long time, have learned to cope and do pretty well.  Dogs on the other hand....well.....apparently having the disease only 30-odd years makes it pretty awful. 

I knew about it coming out from both ends in the puppies, and how super infectious it is, but today I got to see the pathopysiology and let me tell you - it is not pretty.

Sure, there are other awful puppy diseases like Distemper, but to imagine a world where I don't have to worry about parvo is really hard for me.  To imagine what it was like to be a practicing vet in the 70's when this disease starting hitting dogs must have been amazing (from a disease/epidemiology port of view) and awful all at the same time.  It's amazing that we have such an effective vaccine against this disease that hasn't been around for very long. 

It makes sense to me why there are so many vets that still recommend that puppies are completely kept out of public places until after all boosters are done - the recent memory of a parvo epidemic is still fresh.  Better safe than sorry.  I also understand why the "older" generation ( cliche) sometimes seems a bit oblivious to the dangers of parvo. 

Veterinary Science is so cool!!!!!!!!


  1. Parvoviruses are my favorite!! They've actually proven that CPV evolved directly from FPV with a few minor changes in the capsid proteins. That's why it didn't show up until '78; when species are housed together long enough the virus jumps hosts! Turns out we didn't learn our lesson because it was happening in the lab animal world as well - hamsters got mouse parvovirus!!

  2. I've nursed three pups through survived. It was awful. Yay for vets!

  3. I've only seen 1 case - a little bulldog puppy. Doubley sad because under normal cirucumstances it's IMPOSSIBLE to get an IV into their legs and when sick and dehydrated, there's no way. The pup didn't make it :(. There were other pups that tested positive (all pound puppies) that came through, but the bulldog was the only full blown case that I saw.