Parvovirus f strain – much ado about nothing

Tank, a parvovirus survivor

Tank, a parvovirus survivor

The parvo rumor mill is back in action again, and we’re receiving questions about a “new f strain” of canine parvovirus that is, according to the rumors, the worst one ever.

And like many rumors, that’s all it is. Just to be sure, we checked with the leading canine parvovirus experts – these are the people who’d know about it – and they’ve reported to us that it is nothing more than a rumor. In other words, there is no new, highly virulent and deadly “f strain” of parvo.

But canine parvovirus is real. And it can be deadly, regardless of the strain involved. The strains involved in parvo haven’t really changed since the 2c strain was first identified in Italy in 2000 and in the U.S. in 2006. What has changed is that the virus has become better adapted to dogs, which means it infects dogs and spreads more efficiently. (Which is obviously a good thing only if you’re the virus. If you’re a dog, this is not a good thing). Canine parvovirus-2 more severely affects puppies, particularly if they aren’t fully vaccinated against the virus.

To us, the scariest thing about canine parvovirus is its resistance. This virus can survive for a long time in the environment, and it’s resistant to many common disinfectants. This is one bad bug, and it’s here to stay.

How can you protect your dog? Vaccinate your dog against parvovirus-2. Although there can be “vaccination failures” (which can result from problems with the dog’s immune system or from the fact that no vaccine is 100% effective against parvovirus), this gives your dog the best chances of protection.

Want to learn more? Read our canine parvovirus and canine parvovirus 2c resources.

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