Viral enteritis is an inflammation of the intestinal tract caused by a virus. Viruses that cause enteritis include parvovirus, coronavirus, herpesvirus, astrovirus, enterovirus, and reovirus. Some of these viruses cause severe life-threatening illness, while others cause only a mild digestive upset. The herpes-virus of dogs does not affect people.
Viral enteritis is easily transmitted to susceptible dogs. Puppies, aged dogs, and those weakened by illness are most susceptible. Dogs become infected by swallowing the virus particles or by direct contact with infected feces, saliva, or vomit. Viruses may be carried on clothing, shoes, feeding utensils, and some insects and birds. Some of these viruses can survive several months in the environment.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Because dogs with viral enteritis tend to vomit oral medications and food, hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy are often necessary.
2. Blood tests are necessary to diagnose viral enteritis and monitor the response to treatment.