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Potential Parvo Virus Vaccine

Saving a million puppies. That’s the goal of a growing number of veterinarians nationwide as a new treatment is showing positive results in fighting what can be a deadly virus for dogs.

At the Metzger Animal Hospital, we visited Maverick, a three-month-old black lab puppy.

“So, Maverick presented with symptoms; he was a very sad puppy, kind of lethargic.”

It was suspected that Maverick had canine Parvovirus, and testing showed that he is positive for the virus and is isolated.

“What happens is these puppies get the double whammy. Not only being dehydrated, but they can get a secondary bacterial infection because of damage to the gut. It’s a perfect storm for a horrible disease.”

Staffers at the hospital are suiting up like a hazmat scene to treat Maverick.

“It’s very susceptible in our puppy population and easily transmissible.”

While we were visiting Maverick, another blood test came in from another puppy, and it was another case of Parvovirus.

Parvovirus is a worldwide disease and about 900 puppies a day are diagnosed with it.

Until recently, officials said treatment options were limited.

“Traditionally, canine Parvovirus is all supportive care. The virus has already done its damage and we are trying to support the little puppy.”

And the virus can be deadly.

“It’s hard, you get a puppy, you’re excited about having a puppy and then you could spend a number of days away from the puppy. You may never see your puppy again.”

Now in these small vials, a possible breakthrough in treating the virus.

“The first time we’ve had treatment for Parvovirus is right now. Last year’s product called canine Parvovirus monoclonal antibody was given conditional approval by the USDA.”

It’s an IV treatment, and so far, six months in, there have been positive results.

“Depending on where we are in the disease, we can shut that disease down.”

“I think it’s nice we now have an actual target treatment. Some we can do to the virus itself.”

Dr. Metzger is an initial member of the nationwide Parvo Defenders Task Force with the goal of “saving a million puppies.”

“Who doesn’t want to be part of that, I certainly do. The idea is, with new treatment, they’re predicting we can save up to a million puppies by the end of 2023.”

And one of the early success stories is Maverick. After receiving the new Parvovirus treatment, Maverick, just a few days ago, was given a clean bill of health and is headed home.

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