Canine Parvovirus Type 2c FAQ

February 2013

Q: What is canine parvovirus type 2c?

A: CPV-2c is the most recent variant of canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), the virus that causes "parvo" enteritis in dogs. There are several variants of CPV-2; all of the variants of CPV-2 are genetically related.

CPV-2c differs from CPV-2a and CPV-2b at only one point on the DNA strand

Canine parvovirus type 2c (CPV-2c) is a variant of canine parvovirus. It was first detected in Italy in 2000, and has also been reported in Western Europe, Asia, and South America. Cases of canine parvovirus associated with CPV-2c in the United States were first confirmed in 2006. Outbreaks of disease associated with CPV-2b also continue to be reported whereas disease associated with CPV-2 and CPV-2a are very uncommon.

Canine parvovirus type 2c (CPV-2c) is now the most common variant of the canine parvovirus in the United States.

Q: What type of infection does CPV-2c cause?

A: CPV-2c causes similar signs as those seen with infection with CPV-2, CPV-2a and CPV-2b. These include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and dehydration. The bloody diarrhea might be mild or absent with any of the variants, but affected dogs are more likely to stop eating. Without treatment, many affected animals die. Some severe cases may die despite aggressive treatment.

To read more about canine parvovirus, view the AVMA's brochure, "What you should know about canine parvovirus."

Q: Who is susceptible to CPV-2c infection?

A: The risk for infection with CPV-2c and all other variants of the canine parvovirus (as well as many other infectious diseases) is highest when large numbers of unvaccinated dogs are housed together in close confinement, such as boarding/training kennels, shelter facilities, dog shows, and racing greyhound kennels. Unvaccinated dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible to infection, but puppies are at higher risk of severe illness than are older dogs. There is no evidence that CPV-2c, or the other canine parvovirus variants, can infect people.

Q: How is CPV-2c transmitted?

A: As with other parvovirus variants, CPV-2c is highly contagious and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. CPV-2 is among the most environmentally stable viruses, remaining infectious for at least a year in the soil.

Q: How is CPV-2c infection diagnosed?

A: Because the signs are similar for all CPV-2 virus variant infections and illness, the types cannot be distinguished by examination or the signs of disease observed. Commercially available fecal tests are able to detect all variants of CPV-2, including CPV-2c and the virus type causing infection is not clinically relevant.

Q: What is the treatment for CPV-2c infection?

A: As with all other variants of canine parvovirus, treatment of individual dogs consists of supportive care and efforts to replace lost fluids and electrolytes, control vomiting and diarrhea, and prevent secondary infections. There is no specific anti-viral therapy for CPV-2c infection. Since CPV-2c and other variants of canine parvovirus are highly contagious, isolation of infected dogs is necessary to minimize spread of infection. The environment will often remain contaminated with infectious virus for long periods of time (i.e. weeks to months).

Q: Is there a vaccine for CPV-2c?

A: Although there is no CPV-2c vaccine, studies have shown that all of the currently available vaccines produced by the major vaccine manufacturers (BIVI Health, Merck Animal Health, Merial and Pfizer (Zoetis) Animal Health, when administered appropriately, provide excellent immunity to all variants of the canine parvovirus.

Puppies should receive a dose of canine parvovirus vaccine beginning no earlier than 6 weeks. The last puppy vaccination should be given between 14 and 16 weeks of age or older, regardless of how many doses they received earlier, to develop adequate protection.

Q: How is CPV-2c infection managed?

A: Strategies for reducing the spread of CPV-2c infection are the same as those for other variants of CPV, and include isolation of ill dogs (as well as any dogs exposed to ill dogs), biosecurity measures (such as changing of clothes and hand washing after handling affected dogs), and effective sanitation. Parvoviruses are very hardy, are resistant to many disinfectants, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. (i.e. greater than or equal to 1 year in soil). Bleach is the most effective disinfectant.

Q: How is CPV-2c infection prevented?

A: When a dog develops parvo, treatment can be very expensive, and the dog may die despite aggressive treatment. Vaccinating your dog is the most effective way to prevent infection.

Dogs with vomiting or diarrhea or other dogs which have been exposed to ill dogs should not be taken to kennels, show grounds, dog parks, or other areas where they will come into contact with other dogs or contaminate the environment. Similarly, unvaccinated dogs should not be exposed to ill dogs or those with unknown vaccination histories. People who are in contact with sick or exposed dogs should avoid handling of other dogs or at least wash their hands and change their clothes before doing so.

Additional information

Hong C, Decaro N, Desario C et al. Occurrence of canine parvovirus type 2c in the United States. J Vet Diagn Invest 2007; 19: 535-539.
Kapil S, Cooper E, Lamm C et al. Canine parvovirus types 2c and 2b circulating in North American dogs in 2006 and 2007. J Clin Microbiol 2007; 45: 4044-4047.
Larson LJ, Quesada M; Mukhtar E, et al. Evaluation of a CPV-2 fecal parvovirus ELISA (SNAP Fecal Parvo Test ®) from Idexx Laboratories. 88th Conf Res Workers in Anim Dis 2007, p. 112.
CPV Update, Amer Anim Hosp Assoc; May 28, 2007.
Schultz RD, Larson LJ. Current canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) vaccines provide excellent immunity to all genotypes of CPV-2 (eg CPV-2a, 2b, and 2c). 88th Conf Res Workers in Anim Dis 2007, p. 113.