Epidemiology of canine pneumovirus among New Zealand dogs

Infectious canine tracheobronchitis (ICT), often referred to as “kennel cough”, is an acute, highly contagious respiratory disease of dogs. It usually affects young dogs in a multiple-dog environment, such as working dogs.

Typically, affected dogs present with acute onset of paroxysmal dry hacking cough and nasal/ocular discharge. The aetiology of ICT is complex, and the expression of disease is likely to be affected by a number of host-, environment- and pathogen-related factors.

Traditionally, canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus 2, and Bordetella bronchiseptica were regarded as most commonly involved in ICT, and are incorporated into available vaccines [1-3]. However, other pathogens, including canine pneumovirus (CnPnV), have also been detected from diseased dogs [4]. The involvement of newly discovered canine respiratory viruses such as CnPnV in kennel cough may explain occasional outbreaks of respiratory disease among fully vaccinated dogs.

Although the etiological involvement of CnPnV in kennel cough remains to be established, it was the most commonly detected virus among dogs with clinical signs of respiratory disease during a recent virological survey conducted in our laboratory. However, there are currently no data available on the prevalence and epidemiology of this virus in New Zealand. As such, the aim of the proposed project is to investigate the epidemiology of CnPnV among New Zealand dogs. Archival canine sera (n = 1015) sourced from diagnostic submissions to one commercial laboratory over a period of 10 months will be tested for the presence of CnPnV antibodies. Associations between CnPnV antibody status and sex, age, disease status of the dogs or geographical origin of the sample will be investigated using appropriate statistical methods.

The proposed study will contribute to our understanding of pathogens that may be involved in kennel cough under local New Zealand conditions. In a long-term, it will contribute to development of the most effective control strategies to minimise the occurrence and cost of kennel cough among New Zealand dogs

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