In spite of massive vaccination programs for young puppies, the parvovirus is still quite common in young dogs under one year of age. Parvo is even being seen in vaccinated young puppies, particularly in predisposed breeds such as Rottweilers and Dobermans. In fact, because of interference from pre-existing maternal antibodies, vaccines are not usually fully effective until they are given at 16 weeks of age or older, after which immunity should be good for many years.
Parvovirus makes dogs very sick and commonly causes severe inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which may lead to severe bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting. Therefore, due to these symptoms, and the prevalence of parvovirus in dogs, it is even more important to have accurate testing available to detect infection early, so as to improve prognosis and case outcome.
Up until recently there were tests only to detect certain parvovirus strains known as 2a and 2b. However, these older fecal parvovirus tests fail to detect the newer and more potent strain of parvo known as strain 2c. Fortunately, researchers at Kansas State University have now come out with a fecal test for parvo that actually can detect all three strains of parvo. Plus, the test is highly accurate in both specificity and sensitivity. These new tests are usually performed by collecting small amounts of feces, which are then sent by the veterinarian to a diagnostic lab. The test should be performed on any puppy under the age of one year with severe vomiting and/or diarrhea, especially ones not fully vaccinated.
For more, in-depth knowledge on parvo symptoms and treatment, visit Parvovirus in Dogs.