All viruses are considered threats to the health of all living things. By themselves, viruses are just like particles of dust. They have no life, they cannot grow, and they certainly cannot move. Unless, of course, they are carried by the wind or accidentally picked up from the ground. But once the virus enters a living thing (plants, animals, or humans), the virus comes alive. It begins to feed on its environment and cause illnesses.
One colossal group of similar viruses is called the parvovirus. There is a certain parvovirus that infects the human species, there is another type of parvovirus that attacks pigs, and still another type of parvovirus that infects cats. Practically every mammal has its own corresponding parvovirus. And dogs are no exemption. The canine parvovirus infects all species in the dog family, including foxes, wolves, hyenas, and coyotes.
Compared to other viruses, the Dog Parvovirus is quite small, but it is resilient. While some viruses are destroyed by sunlight or moisture, the parvovirus can survive almost all climatic conditions. A parvovirus has basically two parts, the capsid and the nucleic acid. The capsid is a protein that protects the nucleic acid inside. The nucleic acid of the parvovirus is the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
The first canine parvovirus, referred to as CPV-1, was first discovered in 1967. This particular canine parvovirus or dog parvovirus is capable of attacking newborn puppies, but was found to be ineffectual against adult dogs. Unfortunately, viruses have been known to evolve and change into a deadlier form. Thus, by 1978, a new strain of the canine parvovirus was again discovered. This second canine parvovirus is referred to as CPV-2.
According to investigations of scientists, the CPV-2 is a mutant out of the feline parvovirus, and not from the CPV-1. This second version of the canine parvovirus is tougher than the first one. The CPV-2 viruses are also spread rapidly that it has been described as “ubiquitous”. That is, this kind of canine parvovirus can be found anywhere in the world.
The CPV-2, however, is not yet through with its evolution. A year later, in 1979, another type of canine parvovirus came into existence. It is a mutant out of CPV-2. This third type of canine parvovirus is called CPV-2a. This third type is also the deadliest.
Then, the canine parvovirus evolved again and changed into another type which is called the CPV-2b. Fortunately, medical advances have caught up and an effective vaccine against the canine parvovirus has been produced.
A dog infected with the parvovirus usually show symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. When this dog is immediately hospitalized, the dog will most likely recover and will have an immunity against the canine parvovirus.
Check out Sempre and Steve on our canine parvovirus pictures page.
For more information:
Dog Health - Dog Breed Resources