When we presented our series on Parvo vaccination last year, many people were dubious about our statement that it is vaccination that keeps parvo in the environment – and caused the new strains we see today.
Yet Parvo is still out there, infecting our dogs and staying in the environment. Newer, deadlier strains are emerging and are starting to cross infect other species. The reason for this could be the very thing that we believe will protect our dogs: vaccination.
Recently, Australian scientists have backed this claim up. The research, done at the University of Melbourne and published this week in the Journal of Science, found that vaccines used to control infectious disease in chickens (infectious laryngotracheitis virus), can recombine to create new lethal virus strains. Dr Joanne Devlin, a lecturer in Veterinary Public Health-Epidemiology at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, says the deaths were caused when two vaccines used to treat the virus combined.
“These new strains were formed by recombination from the different vaccine strains and that they were actually more virulent than the vaccine strains that gave rise to them,” she said.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is now consulting with industry to control the use of these vaccines. Co-researcher Professor Glenn Browning confirmed other vaccinated animals could also be under threat.
“We suspect that this sort of event could potentially happen in other animal species as well and with other viruses in addition to infectious laryngotracheitis virus,” he said.
“So we believe that what we’ve seen here has potentially go-wider implications than just this particular disease in poultry.”