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ABSTRACT: The study evaluated which viruses can be detected in dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea and compared signalment, clinical signs, and laboratory abnormalities among groups of dogs infected with different viruses and those that tested virus-negative. Fecal samples from 935 dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea were examined by electron microscopy. The medical records of these patients were retrospectively evaluated for clinical and laboratory parameters. Virus was detected in 44.2% of the dogs presented with acute bloody diarrhea. The highest prevalence for a virus infection was demonstrated for canine parvovirus (19.9%), followed by coronavirus (17.3%), and paramyxovirus (13.9%). More than one virus species was detected in 6.5% of all fecal samples. Dogs with a virus-positive fecal sample were significantly younger than dogs that tested negative on electron microscopy. Among virus-positive dogs, dogs with parvovirus infection were significantly younger when compared to dogs infected with other enteric viruses. Parvovirus-infected patients also showed significantly lower leukocyte and erythrocyte counts as well as hematocrit, total protein, and albumin levels compared to all other groups. No significant differences were seen when evaluating sex, clinical parameters, character of diarrhea or vomiting among all groups. Young dogs are more likely to suffer from viral enteritis. Based on clinical parameters it is not possible to differentiate a virus-positive from a virus-negative dog or to diagnose a certain virus species. Besides the young age, parvovirus infection is associated with typical changes in laboratory parameters, but not with specific clinical signs. A virologic fecal examination is always indicated.
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
München, Bavaria, Germany
- Clinic of Small Animal Medicine