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A Parvo Research Study Update

Whether it is losing one puppy or an entire litter, every puppy death by parvovirus is one too many. In April 2021, the Revival Animal Health and Good Dog communities teamed up to help fund a parvo research study at Morris Animal Foundation. Together, the communities raised nearly $9,000. Since April, that number has continued to climb as people continue to donate to this potentially life-saving study.

What This Parvo Study Means For Puppies

Dr. Simon Frueh is a Graduate Research Assistant at Morris Animal Foundation and one of the lead researchers of this study. Dr. Frueh explains what he and his fellow researchers have discovered so far and what it means for healthy puppies:

In this project I am studying the dog antibody responses against canine parvovirus. Canine parvovirus is a deadly disease of puppies. A series of standard vaccines given to puppies early in life induces production of protective antibodies that prevent disease. However, it has proved to be difficult to protect all puppies against canine parvovirus due to the interference from other antibodies – those that are delivered from the mother to the puppy. These maternal antibodies are important for protecting puppies in the first weeks of life, but can also prevent an effective antibody response to the parvovirus vaccine. Unprotected puppies may be infected by viruses that are found in the environment. However, we know very few details about the antibodies that are produced in dogs or how they target the viruses to prevent the dogs from getting sick.

In my studies, I have been able to isolate B cells (antibody producing cells) from dog blood after vaccination, and have separated those cells that produce the protective antibodies against the canine parvovirus virion. I am now producing these antibodies in the laboratory to characterize their binding sites on the virus particle and to see how they are able to protect dogs against infection by the wild virus strains. This will allow me to determine, for the first time, how the dog immune response recognizes canine parvovirus and protects puppies from this deadly disease.

During this project, I developed a variety of new approaches tailored to the analysis of dog antibodies and of the cells that make antibodies in canine blood samples. We (and others) can now use these approaches to answer important questions about how antibody responses in dogs develop to viral or other antigens (target molecules) that dogs may come in contact with. Ultimately, these findings will be used for the evaluation of protection against viruses, and for the development of improved vaccines in the future.

Again, thank you for your generous support. Sincerely, Simon Frueh, DVM

To learn more about parvovirus in dogs, visit the Revival Learning Center to read the article Parvo in Puppies and Dogs.

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Shelley Hexom

Written by: Shelley Hexom

Content Manager

Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.

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