Intestinal Viruses

Chapter 14 Intestinal Viruses

Parvoviruses, coronaviruses, and rotaviruses are established causes of viral enteritis and diarrhea in dogs and cats and are discussed in this chapter. In addition, numerous other viruses of uncertain significance and enteropathogenicity have been found in the feces or intestines of dogs and cats.

In addition, the intestine may be involved as part of generalized viral infections in disorders such as canine distemper in dogs (see Chapter 13), and feline leukemia virus (see Chapter 8), feline immunodeficiency virus (see Chapter 9), and feline infectious peritonitis (see Chapter 10) in cats.


Etiology and Epidemiology

Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), a non-enveloped, single-stranded DNA virus, causes an acute, highly contagious enteritis of dogs that has been prevalent worldwide since the late 1970s. CPV is believed to have evolved from the feline panleukopenia virus or a closely related virus. Since 1980, variants designated CPV-2a and CPV-2b have evolved, the latter now being the predominant strain in North America. Both of these variants and a newer CPV-2c variant can also infect and replicate in cats.

Clinical Signs


Suspect parvovirus infection in young dogs that have an abrupt onset of vomiting and foul-smelling bloody diarrhea, especially if associated with severe depression, fever, or leukopenia or if these signs follow potential exposure to infected dogs or fomites.


The treatment of parvovirus is mainly supportive and similar in most ways to the treatments used for other types of severe gastroenteritis. The intensity of the treatment depends on the severity of the signs. In dogs with fully developed clinical signs, withhold food and water for 12 to 24 hours to rest the GI tract, administer IV crystalloids to replace fluid and electrolytes, and give parenteral antibiotics to control bacterial complications. Initiate therapy whether or not definitive tests are done or while awaiting the return of results.

Fluid Therapy

See Chapter 5 for specific guidelines and procedures for fluid and electrolyte therapy.

Use the intravenous route for fluid and electrolyte replacement using a balanced crystalloid solution (e.g., lactated Ringer’s solution, Plasma-Lyte 148, or Normosol-R). For animals presented in hypovolemic shock, administer up to 90 ml/kg IV in the first 1 to 2 hours to restore hemodynamic stability (see Chapter 156), then switch to a maintenance rate. For most other animals, correct dehydration over the first 24 hours, then use a maintenance rate for fluids plus replacement of ongoing losses. Two to three times normal maintenance levels are often required. Continue fluid therapy until vomiting ceases and oral intake resumes.

Consider supplementing magnesium according to guidelines in Chapter 5, as magnesium is often deficient in severe cases of parvoviral enteritis.

Aug 27, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on Intestinal Viruses

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