Lifestyle as Risk Factor for Infectious Causes of Death in Young Dogs: A Retrospective Study in Southern Italy (2015-2017)

Lorena Cardillo, Giuseppe Piegari, Valentina Iovane, Maurizio Viscardi, Flora Alfano, Anna Cerrone, Ugo Pagnini, Serena Montagnaro, Giorgio Galiero, Giuseppe Pisanelli, Giovanna Fusco

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7 Scopus citations


Infectious diseases are a common cause of death in young dogs. Several factors are thought to predispose young dogs to microbiological infections. Identifying the cause of death is often a challenge, and broad diagnostic analysis is often needed. Here, we aimed to determine the infectious causes of death in young dogs aged up to 1 year, examining how it relates to age (under and over 6 months), lifestyle (owned versus ownerless), breed (purebred and crossbreed), and gender. A retrospective study was conducted in a 3-year period (2015-2017) on 138 dead dogs that had undergone necropsy and microbiological diagnostics. Enteritis and pneumonia were the most commonly observed lesions. Polymicrobism was more prevalent (62.3%) than single-agent infections and associated with a higher rate of generalised lesions. Ownerless dogs showed over a three-fold higher predisposition to viral coinfections than owned dogs. Above all, canine parvovirus was the most prevalent agent (77.5%), followed by canine coronavirus (31.1%) and canine adenovirus (23.9%); ownerless pups had a higher predisposition to these viruses. Escherichia coli (23.9%), Clostridium perfringens type A (18.1%), and Enterococcus spp. (8.7%) were the most commonly identified bacteria, which mostly involved in coinfections. A lower prevalence of CDV and Clostridium perfringens type A was observed in puppies under 6 months of age. In conclusion, this study is the first comprehensive survey on a wide panel of microbiological agents related to necropsy lesions. It lays the groundwork for future studies attempting to understand the circulation of infectious agents in a determined area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6207297
JournalVeterinary Medicine International
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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