What is Intestinal Virus (Reovirus)?
The reovirus belongs to the Reoviridae family, which is a small, yet mighty, group of plant and animal viruses. This virus keeps much needed, vital nutrients away from the intestinal wall. Since they cannot be absorbed into the muscles, dehydration and diarrhea occur. This group of viruses, or intestinal viruses, has double strands of RNA, or ribonucleic acid, and can affect most any mammal, including humans. Animals acquire the infection via feces or within the air. Since the virus limits the absorption of nutrients from the intestines, the results are very noticeable sickness in the dog, including symptoms of diarrhea and dehydration. Being situated in the walls of the dog’s intestines, the reovirus destroys the cells within the intestinal wall, thus causing the inflammation and other marked symptoms. This infection is also thought to be possibly associated with the transmission and subsequent infection of kennel cough.
Intestinal virus (reovirus) infection in dogs is a contagious illness caused by a virus from the Reoviridae family, leading to severe stomach and intestinal suffering by the infected dog. The illness commonly manifests with signs of gastrointestinal upset and upper respiratory illness.
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Symptoms of Intestinal Virus (Reovirus) in Dogs
The symptoms of reovirus are generally mild to moderate. Symptoms will include:
- Your pet’s eyes may be inflamed and red (conjunctivitis)
- He may suffer from diarrhea, which if becomes severe may cause your pet to become dehydrated
- Signs of pneumonia may be evident
- There could be inflammation of the nasal mucus membranes (rhinitis) which can lead to more dust and microorganisms entering the nose
There are some cases which can be more severe, and in these situations the symptoms can include:
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- Irritation of the respiratory tract
- Tracheobronchitis (acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial airways or the trachea)
- Enteritis (inflammation of the intestine which is viral)
The features of this virus are similar; however the virus has been divided into specific genera. There are several types of similar viruses and characteristics. These include:
Causes of Intestinal Virus (Reovirus) in Dogs
There are a few known causes of dogs acquiring reovirus. Causes include:
- Autoimmune triggers
- Airborne particles of the virus
- Contact with feces or saliva of infected animal
Diagnosis of Intestinal Virus (Reovirus) in Dogs
There are several differential diagnoses to this illness, and the veterinarian will need to perform several tests to see what the precise diagnosis is. The veterinarian will perform a complete blood count, urinalysis and biochemistry profile. This is all in addition to the physical examination and a review of the dog’s symptoms with the veterinarian. The veterinarian may also test the dog’s feces and a serum antibody response test. He may also conduct virus isolation and a histopathology to differentiate this virus from others, such as canine viral enteritis, infectious tracheobronchitis, and other similar disorders.
Treatment of Intestinal Virus (Reovirus) in Dogs
There is no vaccine to prevent reovirus; however, scientists are currently developing an effective vaccine. Medications are usually not given for this virus. Hydration and plenty of rest are the only form of treatment recommended at this time. If there are accompanying complications that can be improved with medication, such as conjunctivitis, your veterinarian will treat accordingly in order to obtain a better health condition for your pet. This will also aid in a quicker recovery.
Recovery of Intestinal Virus (Reovirus) in Dogs
Your veterinarian will give you a management plan to help your dog finish recovering at home. It is important to keep your dog away from other animals, as this virus is contagious. To be cautious, you should isolate your dog until he gets will again. Your physician may recommend keeping your companion away from small children or infants, as it could be contagious to them as well. Once he gets plenty of fluids and gets rest, he should recover from this virus. It is important to keep an eye on him for any other symptoms or, if his condition worsens, contact your veterinarian with questions or concerns.