Tracking tool is launched on the first parvovirus awareness day

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Elanco Animal Health aims to generate education for the highly contagious virus that can be deadly to canines

Parvo is Poop

Image courtesy of Elanco Animal Health.

An online parvovirus tracking tool was launched Tuesday, April 23, 2024—on the first National Parvo Awareness Day. The debut of both the ParvoTrack-powered by Elanco and the new awareness day, which was created by Elanco Animal Health, is part of the company’s ‘Parvo is Poop’ educational campaign.1

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is highly contagious and can be fatal.2,3 In a January 2024 survey, investigators with Elanco found that there are an estimated 900 dogs diagnosed daily with canine parvovirus (CPV), and those that do not receive aggressive care in a timely manner face a mortality rate as high as 91%.2

Canine parvovirus

Illustration: Dr Microbe/Adobe Stock

CPV infection can also damage the small intestine, and cause myocarditis in puppies, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. Although it affects older dogs, the virus is most-often associated with puppies ages 6 to 20 weeks.3

The virus is easily spread through direct contact with infected dogs, their feces, or surfaces contaminated by the virus. These surfaces may include kennels, water and food bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands or clothing of humans who have handled an infected dog.4 The virus is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, according to Elanco. It can also survive in the environment, sometimes for years, and even when infected canine feces are removed, in some cases.1

Raising awareness about parvovirus—and encouraging veterinarians to be prepared with treatments in stock—is important for defeating infection, according to Bobby Modi, executive vice president, US Pet Health, Elanco. “It requires us to be innovative and bold,” Modi said in a news release.1 “The first-of-its-kind tracing tool is something that we’ve heard loud and clear from the veterinary industry is critical. If we can track and test for parvo, we can treat and defeat parvo.”

Track parvovirus

ParvoTrack-powered by Elanco is a resource available at DefeatParvo.com for veterinarians and dog owners. The tool allows individuals to self-report cases of CPV, and it identifies areas with outbreaks in real time. The digital platform covers the US with the ability to provide insights at the state and county levels too.1

Jennifer Miller, DVM

Jennifer Miller, DVM, veterinary technical marketer, Elanco US Pet Health Marketing. (Photo courtesy of Elanco Animal Health)

Until the launch of ParvoTrack-powered by Elanco, “there really wasn’t a national mechanism” to find where active pockets of CPV existed, according to Jennifer Miller, DVM, veterinary technical marketer, Elanco US Pet Health Marketing. “As cases are getting reported, alerts will also be sent out to folks that want to receive alerts,” she said in an interview with dvm360®.

The alerts are not only useful for pet owners but also veterinarians, according to Miller. She said veterinary practices can deploy an educational campaign for their clients and provide a refresher to staff to remind them of virus signs they may see in patients, especially during its peak season.

“We see that this time of year, around April, is when we start seeing the kickoff to ‘parvo’ season. So, Parvo cases are coming in, and we're already hearing about outbreaks across the US. This is a great time to just make sure everybody's refreshed on signs of ‘parvo,’ where there is risk factors and treatments available,” said Miller.

National Parvo Awareness Day

The Elanco survey found that many dog owners do not know what this virus is and about 20% are unaware of its existence at all.2 The goal of National Parvo Awareness Day and Elanco’s ‘Parvo is Poop’ campaign is to spotlight the virus and, specifically, the topic of canine feces. According to the company, it hopes to spark conversation about parvovirus that leads to increased public vigilance.1

Awareness of this common disease also helps owners learn of preventative measures like parvo vaccinations. This vaccine can be given as a puppy, and owners are encouraged to contact their trusted veterinary clinic for more information.

Miller said the awareness day was created with the intention of occurring annually on the fourth Tuesday in April. The month was chosen because web data has shown that online searches for information on parvovirus peaks in April. “This is really leading into ‘parvo’ season, when puppies are at the most risk for the virus, Miller said.

National Parvo Awareness Day has also been registered with National Today, a well-known online tracker of holidays and cultural calendars.

Parvo is Poop

The overall awareness campaign is expected to feature “provocative” language and that’s intentional, according to Miller. “Part of this campaign is a mission to save a million puppies. We want to stop people in their tracks. We want them to take notice,” she said

As part of the Parvo is Poop initiative, Elanco is also offering a 50% off promotional discount for clinics’ first carton of the company’s Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody (CPMA) treatment, which received a USDA conditional license in May 2023.5 “By giving a clinic a 50% off promo, that enables the clinic to use CPMA in at least 1 dog at no cost to them, delivering this life-saving medication to their next patient [with parvovirus],” Miller said.

More information about the Parvo is Poop campaign and ParvoTrack-powered by Elanco can be found at DefeatParvo.com.

References

  1. Elanco’s ‘Parvo is Poop’ campaign unleashes awareness day and action on National Parvo Awareness Day. News release. Elanco. April 23, 2024. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.elanco.com/en-us/insights/elanco-s-parvo-is-poop-campaign-unleashes-awareness-and-action-on-national-parvo-awareness-day
  2. Coppock K. Preventing canine parvovirus infections. dvm360. January 18, 2024. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.dvm360.com/view/preventing-canine-parvovirus-infection
  3. Canine parvovirus. American Veterinary Medical Association. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/canine-parvovirus
  4. Baker Institute for Animal Health. Canine parvovirus. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Accessed January 18, 2024. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/baker-institute/our-research/canine-parvovirus
  5. McCafferty C. USDA provides conditional license for the Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody. dvm360. May 2, 2023. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.dvm360.com/view/usda-provides-conditional-license-for-the-canine-parvovirus-monoclonal-antibody
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