A new diagnostic test developed by researchers at Kansas State University Diagnostic Laboratory can identify a newer, emerging strain of canine parvovirus—the 2c strain—in addition to the existing 2a and 2b strains, making early detection of this deadly viral disease possible.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal to immunocompromised dogs or puppies that have not been vaccinated. The virus causes hemorrhagic enteritis and bloody diarrhea and can easily be passed between dogs through contact with feces from an infected dog.
“Canine parvovirus is a very severe disease,” says Richard Oberst, professor of diagnostic medicine and director of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory in the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. “Usually dogs that have canine parvovirus are already immune suppressed, not only because of their young age and having immature immune systems, but also because of having intestinal parasites.”
Many times, survival rates are determined by how quickly and accurately the virus is detected. However, many commercially available tests aren’t able to detect the newer strains of the 2c virus, leading to false negative results, says Oberst.
But thanks to Jianfa Bai, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine, and collaborators at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, a new real-time polymerase chain reaction test, also known as PCR, has been developed to detect the 2c virus strain and the 2a and 2b strains.
“With this test we can now test all strains simultaneously and differentiate which strains of the virus might actually be causing the infection,” says Oberst. “That’s a unique aspect to this test.”
Veterinarians can send samples for testing to Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 1800 Denison Ave., Manhattan, KS 66506. These samples should be shipped in the same manner as all other diagnostic specimens. For more information, contact the laboratory at 866-512-5650 or visit www.ksvdl.org.