Viral enteritis is an inflammation of the intestinal track caused by a virus. Viruses that cause enteritis include parvovirus, coronavirus, herpes virus, astrovirus, enterovirus and reovirus. Some of these viruses cause severe life-threatening illness, while others cause only amild digestive upset. The herpes virus of dogs does not affect people.

Viral enteritis is easily transmitted to susceptible dogs. Puppies, aged dogs and those weakened by illness are most susceptible. Dogs become infected by swallowing the virus particles or by direct contact with infected feces, saliva or vomit. Viruses may be carried on clothing, shoes, feeding utensils, and some insects and burs. Some of these viruses can survive several months in the environment.

Common signs of viral enteritis include depression, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stools. Heart muscle damage may occur with some of these viral infections.

Yearly vaccination for prevention of parvovirus and coronavirus is recommended.