The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) has a rich history. Over the 50 plus years we have existed, TVMDL professionals have worked tirelessly to provide the most accurate and up to date resources to our clients. The following excerpt is part of an ongoing series of articles written by TVMDL’s first director, Dr. William Sippel, and other professionals from the earlier days of TVMDL. Some articles were written for features in The Cattleman publication where others were case studies over recent diagnoses. We hope you enjoy this look back on TVMDL’s history.
Canine Viral Enteric Infections
A.K. Eugster, DVM, PhD
In recent months we had quite a flurry of activity with canine “enteric” viruses. We are isolating and/or observing with the electron microscope the following viruses in the feces or intestinal tract: parvoviruses, coronaviruses, picoronaviruses and paramyxoviruses (canine distemper).
Parvovirus: This is mostly an acute febrile disease resulting in watery and frequently bloody diarrhea, vomiting and marked leukopenia. Severity of symptoms vary considerably (generally more severe in young pups). Mortality rate varies from case to use and ranges from 0-20%. Morbidity is high and the disease appears to be highly contagious. The disease usually takes its course in 4-7 days. Since the time the TVMA mailed out a special bulletin to you on this subject, the have found these parvoviruses in various other parts the state as well as Louisiana.
Coronavirus: We have had only a few coronavirus cases. The symptoms were similar to those seen in parvovirus infection except less severe and the leukopenia was not as marked. In one case the only sign observed was a loose stool at weekly intervals.
Picoronavirus: Members of this virus family are found in many animal species. The pathogenicity of individual members varies from those inducing such severe diseases as poliomyelitis in man, to calicivirus infections in cat to those found in asymptomatic cattle and pigs. Nothing is known about picornaviruses in dogs. So far, we have seen canine picornavirus only in cases where we also found canine distemper and/or parvovirus infection. I am certain that we would find these viruses also in “normal” dogs if we looked long enough. In other words, we feel at the present that picoronaviruses can contribute to the case of enteritis but are not solely responsible for it.
Multiple Virus Infection: In a few cases we found canine distemper viruses, parvoviruses and picoronaviruses in the same animal. In these cases the animal showed clinical signs of distemper. Also dual infections of parvoviruses and coronaviruses have been observed.
Treatment: No specific treatment is available for any of the above viral infections. Symptomatic treatment is available instituted early in the course of the disease appears to facilitate recovery.
Since this article was published in the TVMA journal over 30 years ago, TVMDL has continued our commitment to testing for the aforementioned viruses across various species. As technology and knowledge has become available, TVMDL has continued to stay current on the best methods for testing for theses viruses, and others. For an updated list of virology testing, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call one of our full service laboratories in College Station or Amarillo.