Circulating Canine Circovirus

dog-circovirusKelsey Graver (12:00 Micro) tweeted about an outbreak an outbreak of a novel virus in dogs. I thought it was interesting, and told her to write it up for #bonus. Here’s Kelsey’s summary:

A viral outbreak of a canine circovirus has struck some of our four legged friends in California, Ohio, and Michigan. The canine circovirus has caused several deaths in September, October and November of the present year. The American Veterinary Medical Association first identified the canine version of the circovirus in June 2012. Prior to June of 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) only recognized the circovirus infecting those of the avian and pig populations. The first case of canine circovirus was reported in a California dog at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Although the AVMA has claimed the actual means of transmission have not been identified yet, they believe healthy dogs contract the virus through direct contact with the salvia, feces, or vomit of an infected dog. The major symptoms of canine circovirus infection include diarrhea, extreme lethargy, bloody stools, and vomiting. The AVMA also ensures dog owners not to worry over the likelihood of mortality due to infection. Early treatment of diarrhea and vomiting will greatly improve rate of survival in the infected dog. Therefore, if dog owners suspect their dogs are suffering from a canine circovirus infection, the AVMA advise immediate diagnosis and treatment from a veterinary clinic or emergency animal hospital.

Interestingly enough, not every single dog that comes into contact with the canine circovirus will become infected. In fact, researchers at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that out of two hundred and four healthy adult dogs, fourteen of the dogs showed traces of the canine circovirus in fecal samples. However, the fourteen dogs did not show signs or symptoms of infection. Therefore, some dogs can be carriers for the virus. The carriers unknowingly transfer the canine circovirus to other healthy dogs through communicable direct contact.  Researchers from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine are unsure whether the canine circovirus independently causes infection and illness or if the canine circovirus works with another etiologic agent. Since the circovirus has only recently been discovered in the canine population, scientists must undergo more research to have a better understand of the circovirus’ pathogenesis.

In the realm of morphology and other microbiology classifications, the canine circovirus, sometimes mentioned as Dog CV in scientific journals, is  non-envelopled and spherical in shape. The canine circovirus consists of a single stranded circular DNA genome. The canine circovirus is a member of the Circoviridae family and the Cuclovirus and Gyrovirus genus. Recently, the American Society for Microbiology published an article, Complete Genome Sequence of the First Canine Circovirus, in their subdivision Journal of Virology. Virologists Amit Kapoor, Edward Dubovi, Jose Henriquez-Rivera, and W. Lipkin assisted in the first genome sequence of the canine circovirus, CaCV-1 strain NY214. In the single stranded circular DNA, approximately 2,063 nucleotides were sequenced. By sequencing the DNA genome, virologists believe that they are one step closer to understand the evolutionary and pathogenic characteristics of the mammalian circoviruses. One day, virologists hope to understand the mutation that allows circovirsues to jump from one host, like the pig or bird, to another host, like the dog.

Now, dog owners of America, don’t fret! Remember to keep your loyal companion away from dog parks, dog kennels, and other places where your buddy could come into contact with other dogs since these canine crowded areas tend to become susceptible reservoirs. Since the canine circovirus is transmitted directly, do not allow your dog to come into contact (eat) other dog’s saliva, feces, or vomit. If your dog exhibits any possible signs of infection, like extreme lethargy, vomiting, or bloody stools, please contact a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately.

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About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on December 2, 2013, in Guest Post, Kill the wabbit!. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Circulating Canine Circovirus.

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