Background: Canine parvovirus (CPV) is the most important viral cause of acute canine enteritis leading to severe damage of the intestinal barrier. It has been speculated that dogs might develop chronic disorders after surviving CPV infection. However, no studies regarding the long-term implications of CPV infection have been published to date. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether dogs that have survived CPV infection will have an increased risk for developing chronic gastroenteritis, atopic dermatitis, or cardiac disease.
Methodology/principal findings: Dogs that had been treated at the Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, LMU Munich, for CPV infection for which a follow-up of at least 12 months was available, were included in the study. Owners completed a questionnaire on the presence of chronic gastrointestinal and cutaneous signs, cardiac disease, and other potential disorders. An identical questionnaire was sent to owners of matched control dogs during the same time period. Seventy-one questionnaires of dogs with CPV infection and 67 of control dogs were analyzed. Significantly more CPV-infected dogs (30/71) compared to control dogs (8/67) had developed chronic gastrointestinal signs later in their lives (P < 0.001). No significant differences were observed regarding skin diseases (P = 1), cardiac problems (P = 0.160), or any other diseases (P = 0.173) later in life.
Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that dogs that survive CPV infection have a significantly higher risk (odds ratio = 5.33) for developing a chronic gastrointestinal disease. Further prospective studies to identify the trigger for the development of chronic diarrhoea and possible targeted treatment strategies are needed.