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Vaccine Protocol by Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM

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Canine Parvovirus One of the drugs making a lot of news in the veterinary therapeutic arena right now is TamiFlu (oseltamivir phosphate). This drug, developed by Roche, is used to treat human influenza. In April this year, Dr. Jack Broadhurst published his findings on Veterinary Information Network (VIN), on his use of Tamiflu in the treatment of Parvo in shelter puppies. Because of a limited budget, the shelter was unable to use expensive IV fluids and hospitalization. It was one visit to a veterinarian, SQ fluids and antibiotics and back to the shelter on oral electrolytes and antibiotics. The mortality rate was 75%. When Dr. Broadhurst added Tamiflu orally at 1mg/lb, twice a day; they went from 75% mortality to 100% survival (5). When the powder is reconstituted, you have a suspension of 25ml at 12mg/cc. The amount that is given to a small puppy, the most common patient, is 0.4 ml for a 10 lb puppy. This amount is so small it usually does not trigger vomiting if given slowly (5).

No, there have been no collaborated controlled studies and the purist will question whether the Tamiflu is making any difference. After five months the success rate is in excess of 95%. Try it. You be the judge.

I have had some experience with Tamiflu with another disease, which in South Florida, is causing a lot of very sick dogs. The disease is Kennel Cough. I had my bottle of Tamiflu on the shelf in my pharmacy, waiting for the first Parvo case to try it. Before I had the opportunity, I was presented with another situation. One of the greyhound trainers, who I trust, came to me for Doxycline for use in an outbreak of Kennel Cough. I seized the opportunity, as I felt I had nothing to loose but the $35.00 for the cost of the bottle of Tamiflu. I asked her to take her 3 worse dogs and give them Tamiflu at 1mg/kg, twice a day, half the dose used in Parvo. I gave her the medication on Thursday. She started treatment on Friday. On Monday, 4 days after, she was back. The 3 dogs, by Sunday night, had stopped coughing and were doing great. The other dogs showed little or no improvement. She wanted enough for all the dogs. We ordered it and had it the next day. She treated 140 dogs and the outbreak was shortened by 2-3 weeks. Her dogs were back to training, running and winning, some in a matter of days, some within 10 days of the contraction of the disease. Before Tamiflu, it would take 2-3 weeks. Two other greyhound kennels in Alabama and Kansas have had success with the use of Tamiflu in curtailing the outbreak of Kennel Cough. (A total of 282 dogs) Here again, the purist will say that kennel cough manifests itself in various ways and with variation in severity and convalescence. I know this fact only too well, but when you get a clinical response with the use of a product, when the only variable is that product, then I will use that product as long as it does no harm.

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is a neuraminidase inhibitor. What is neuraminidase?? It is a protein found on the surface membrane of many viruses and bacteria. Its presence enables the virus to break from the host cell to infect other cells and is required for the virus to pass through mucous to reach non-infected cells. Neuraminidase is also required for a pathogenic bacteria to colonize.

In the case of Bordetella bronchoseptica organisms, the major component of Kennel Cough, it has neuraminidase receptors on their cell membranes that enable them to colonize on respiratory epithelial cells. Neuraminidase inhibitors, like Tamiflu, will prevent colonization in the trachea and bronchi.

There are 6 possible mechanisms that a neuraminidase inhibitors, such as Tamiflu, may work.

  1. Inhibition of viral particles released from infected cells
  2. Reduce the ease with which the virus can move to infect adjacent cells
  3. Reduce bacteria colonization
  4. Reduce the migration of white blood cells, macrophages, from the blood to the infected tissue to create cellular injury
  5. Reduce the number of T-Lymphocytes from migrating to the infected tissue creating cellular injury
  6. Reduce the role of any bacterial toxins on muscles, blood vessels, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, kidney and trachea (5).

The success of Tamiflu depends on the neuraminidase factor. This drug is like using a laser as opposed to most antibiotics, which are like a shot gun. A word of caution. Tamiflu does not work on the Distemper virus or other forms of gastroenteritis.



Dr. Fernandes is the past president of the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association and the South Florida Veterinary Foundation, and is a member of the board of the Humane Society of Greater Miami and Pet Rescue.

Other links on using Tamiflu to treat Parvovirus:


This information is not intended to be used as veterinary advice, nor to replace consultation with a qualified veterinarian.

Veterinarians interested in treatment of Parvo with Tamiflu can also contact Dr. Jack Broadhurst, a veterinarian coordinating research into Tamiflu in the treatment of canine parvovirus, kennel cough, feline distemper, and the canine flu, for information on dosages and his research. His email address is DocCat@aol.com.