BACKGROUND: Astroviruses (AstVs) have been reported to infect and cause gastroenteritis in most animal species. Human AstVs were regarded the causative agent of viral diarrhea in children. In dogs, little is known about the epidemiology and clinical significance of AstV infection.
FINDINGS: In this study, we collected and tested 253 rectal swabs from pet dogs; of which 64 samples (25.3%) tested positive for AstVs with diarrhea and 15 more samples (5.9%) also was identified as AstVs, however without any clinical signs. Phylogenetic analysis of 39 partial ORF1b sequences from these samples revealed that they are similar to AstVs, which can be subdivided into three lineages. Interestingly, out of the 39 isolates sequenced, 16 isolates are shown to be in the Mamastrovirus 5/canine astrovirus (CAstV) lineage and the remaining 23 isolates displayed higher similarities with known porcine astrovirus (PoAstV) 5 and 2. Further, analysis of 13 capsid sequences from these isolates showed that they are closely clustered with Chinese or Italy CAstV isolates.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that CAstVs commonly circulate in pet dogs, and our sequencing results have shown the genomic diversity of CAstVs leading to increasing number of clusters.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.