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In 2012, a Dog circovirus (DogCV) was discovered in the USA, which was followed by further descriptions of the virus in the USA, Italy and Germany. The present study is the first to examine the prevalence of DogCV in faeces of dogs from Germany and other European countries.
Faecal samples from 184 dogs with diarrhoea and from 82 clinically healthy dogs (control group) were analysed for the presence of DogCV by PCR. Furthermore, the detection of parvovirus, coronavirus, Giardia and Cryptosporidium was performed in all samples.
In the group of dogs with diarrhoea the prevalence of DogCV was 20.1% (37/184), in the healthy control group it was 7.3% (6/82). Therefore, the virus could be detected significantly more frequently in dogs with diarrhoea. The detection frequency of DogCV is comparable with those of the other tested pathogens. In approximately 50% of the DogCV-positive dogs, infections with other enteropathogenic organisms were diagnosed.
The role of co-infection in the pathogenesis of the disease remains unclear, but there appears to be an association between co-infection and disease severity. Evidence of DogCV in clinically healthy dogs appears important for the epidemiology and raises questions about its pathogenicity. Further studies are needed to clarify questions regarding the pathogenesis, causal relevance and possible interference by other diarrhoeal pathogens. Nevertheless, the results of this study are an important indication that DogCV should be considered as a differential diagnosis in dogs with diarrhoea.