Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection can cause high mortality in young dogs,especially if left untreated. The virus damages crypt cells of the intestinalmicrovilli, resulting in increased permeability of the gut and hemorrhagicdiarrhea.

Fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) from healthy donors has been used totreat human patients with chronic Clostridium difficile infection, andsimilar concepts in veterinary medicine (such as rumen transfaunation incattle) date back to the 1700s.

Researchers in Brazil recently performed a study evaluating the safety andefficacy of FMT in puppies with CPV.

Study Design Dogs younger than 1 year that were suffering from acutehemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome were admitted to 2 veterinary teaching hospitalsin Brazil. Bloodwork, fecal parasitologic exam, and CPV testing were performedfor all patients at the time of admission, and physical exam was performeddaily during hospitalization.

Patients received either standard supportive treatment (STD) or STD with theaddition of FMT. STD was initiated at the time of admission and consisted ofIV fluid therapy and antibiotics, as well as an injectable antiemetic and agastric protectant.

A healthy adult American pit bull terrier living in the hospital kennel servedas the FMT donor. The dog was current on vaccinations and deworming, hadnormal bloodwork and fecal parasitology, and was negative for CPV, caninedistemper virus, and Ehrlichia canis. Voided feces were collected daily overa 2-week period, aliquoted, and frozen to ensure all FMT patients receivedsimilar microbiota samples.

For FMT, 10 g of feces was diluted in 10 mL of dilute saline and administeredinto the proximal rectum using a syringe and urethral catheter. Afterward,patients remained laterally recumbent with the pelvis elevated for 2 minutes.Patients were not restrained, sedated, or anesthetized for the procedure. FMTwas performed 6 to 12 hours after admission and every 48 hours thereafter forup to 5 applications or until diarrhea resolved.


A total of 33 STD and 33 STD+FMT dogs tested CPV-positive and were treatedbetween July 2015 and August 2016. Body weight and bloodwork results werestatistically similar between treatment groups, although puppies receivingSTD+FMT had a higher median age than those receiving STD alone (4.0 vs 3.0months).

Major findings were as follows:

  • Mortality rate was lower for dogs that received STD+FMT (21.2%) than for dogs treated with STD alone (36.5%).
  • Diarrhea resolved within 48 hours of hospitalization for 61.5% of patients receiving STD+FMT, compared with 4.8% of STD patients.
  • Average hospitalization time was significantly shorter for dogs in the STD+FMT group than for those in the STD group (3.3 vs 6.0 days).

Take-home Message

The authors deemed FMT a safe procedure with no adverse effects. The additionof FMT to STD decreased mortality rate and average recovery time for puppieswith CPV infection.
Source: American Veterinarian

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