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Cure discovered for fatal canine virus

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The vaccine for parvovirus is expected to hit the market by spring in the US; however, it may take far longer to make its way to Egypt

In tests, 90%of puppies treated with Avinexe's new parvovirus vaccine were cured, according to the Associated Press (AFP File Photo)

In tests, 90%of puppies treated with Avinexe’s new parvovirus vaccine were cured, according to the Associated Press
(AFP File Photo)

The US research company Avinax announced Saturday that it accidentally stumbled upon a cure for canine parvovirus while looking for a cure for dying geese.

Although canine parvovirus was first discovered in the early 1970s, it is the most common and threatening virus to dogs in Egypt nowadays, veterinary surgeon Dr Sherif El Hayawan said.

Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in the United States have resulted in a 90% cure rate for the deadly virus, the Associated Press reported.

Avianax hopes to start selling the medicine “parvoONE”, which is harvested from the yokes of goose eggs, by next spring in the United States. However, it may take far longer for the cure to make it to Egypt.

“We currently do not have even basic vaccines,” said Cairo-based veterinarian Mina George.

Better known as “parvo”, the disease is acute and highly contagious to dogs of all age, but it is much more common in puppies 6 to 20 weeks of age since it thrives on developing and rapidly producing cells. Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers appear to acquire the infection more readily and experience more severe symptoms, and the reason for lower resistance in these breeds is unknown.

Parvo has two main forms: cardiac and intestinal. The first form causes respiratory failure and may even lead to heart failure, especially in young puppies. The latter form leads to digestive upset and prohibiting the production of infection fighting white blood cells. It destroys the lining of the intestine.

In most cases, puppies and dogs start to show symptoms 7 to 10 days after catching the virus. Severe vomiting is one of the first signs of infection. Also, infected dogs will be unable to absorb fluids, which leads to severe diarrhoea that is often bloody and yellowish in colour. Other symptoms are loss of appetite, sluggishness and fever.

Canine parvovirus is transmitted through direct and indirect oral contact with the feces of an infected dog. The virus can easily be transferred from surface to surface. For example, if you stand in the place where a dog with parvovirus has recently defecated, there is a high probability of you bringing the virus home on your shoes.

Parvo is extremely resistant, yet there is a standard treatment. Injections to decrease vomiting should be taken on a daily basis, as well as medicine to bring down the dog’s fever.  The dog should be constantly hydrated.

All of this can be simply avoided by following your dog’s immunisation schedule. The silver lining in this cloud though is that canine parvovirus will not affect humans.

About the author

Aya Nader

Follow her on Twitter @AyaNaderM


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