Canine rotavirus infection is considered a minor disease in young dogs (pups) because it is usually mild or unapparent; however, serologic investigations have shown a high prevalence of antibodies to rotavirus in adult dogs. Only a few cases of gastroenteritis due to this virus have been reported. Cases in puppies are characterized by mild gastroenteritis and isolation of virus and passage in unaffected puppies leads to diarrhea in experimental pups.
Although most canine rotaviral infections are considered host-specific, cases of human outbreaks associated with canine G3P strains have been reported in South-east Asia, underpinning the hypothesis that interspecies transmission or re-assortment between animals and humans viruses can occur.
Other causes of diarrhea are commonly involved and it is thought that primary diseases in dogs is uncommon (less than 2%) of cases.
A differential diagnosis would include canine parvovirus, Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin A, Escherichia coli, intestinal nematodes and protozoa, canine enteric coronavirus and canine distemper virus.
Treatment is usually non-specific, with fluid and electrolyte replacement via enteral or parenteral administration.
In outbreaks associated with kenneled dogs, adequate sanitation and quarantine of affected pups is essential to minimize the spread of the disease.
Rotaviral vaccines are not currently available as a preventative measure in dogs.
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