Novel Dog Virus: Canine Bocavirus 3

The Society for General Microbiology (#sgmman) is holding a conference in Manchester (March 25-28)so a short report on a new canine virus is on the menu.

A previously unknown bocavirus has been isolated in the post-mortem examination of a dog’s liver (Li 2013).

Bocaviruses have recently received increased attention thanks to the discovery of the first known BoV to infect humans (Allander 2005) and a whole slew of novel viruses have been identified using nucleotide amplification techniques.


Boca 2

• Single stranded DNA
• Parvoviridae family
• Bocavirus genus
• Icosahedral caspid structure
• Genome size  5 kilobases
• ORF 3 in the middle of the genome
• 20-21 nm in diameter (small)

In 1967 – thanks in part to the development of the Walter Reed Canine Cell line – the Minute Virus of Canines (MVC), was isolated from the feces of healthy adult dogs (Binn 1970). It was the first bocavirus (BoV) known to cause disease in dogs. It would take over 40 years for the 2nd canine BoV to be identified (Lau 2012).

Bocaviruses tend to cause respiratory or enteric distress with young animals being the most at risk. Porcine, bovine, human and canine data suggests a high degree of genetic diversity and with disease potential going from subclinical to lethal.

Boca 1

Canine Bocavirus 3

Belonging to the Bocavirus (for Bovine-Canine parvovirus) genus in the family of Parvoviridae, the new virus is provisionally named Canine Bocavirus 3 (CnBoV3); it is the third bocavirus known to infect dogs.

The dog in question is described as presenting with “severe hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, necrotizing vasculitis, granulomatous lymphadenitis and anuric renal failure” but whether if any of these symptoms can be attributed to CnBoV3 remains to be seen. The presence in the liver suggests that the CnBoV3 was able to cross mucosal barrier, but because the dog was also co-infected with canine circovirus – an agent known to suppress immune function – it is impossible to say whether CvBoV3 normally attacks the liver.

What we know is that bocaviruses tend to show both inter and intra-host genetic diversity wide tissue tropism, prone to recombination and fast rate of evolution (Allander 2007, Lau 2011, Lau 2012, Chen 2010).

We will have to wait for further reports to find out more about CnBoV3.


Allander T, Tammi MT, Eriksson M, Bjerkner A, Tiveljung-Lindell A, Andersson B. (2005) . Cloning of a human parvovirus by molecular screening of respiratory tract samples. PNAS 2005; 102: 12891–12896. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0504666102

Allander, T, Jartti T, Gupta S, Niesters HGM, Lehtinen P, Osterback R,Vuorinen T, Waris M, A. Bjerkner, Tiveljung-Lindell A, van den Hoogen BG, Hyypia T, and Ruuskanen O. (2007). Human bocavirus and acute wheezing in children. Clin. Infect. Dis. 44:904–910.

Binn L, Eddy NGA, Lazar EC and Kajima M (1970). Recovery and Characterization of a Minute Virus of Canines. Infection and Immunity, May 1970, p. 503-508

Chen AY et al. (2010). Characterization of the Gene Expression Profile of Human Bocavirus. Virology. 2010 August 1; 403(2): 145–154. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2010.04.014.

Kapoor A, Simmonds P, Slikas A et al. (2010). Human Bocaviruses Are Highly Diverse, Dispersed, Recombination Prone, and Prevalent in Enteric Infections. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2010; 201(11):1633–1643

Kapoor A, Mehta N, Dubovi EJ, Simmonds P, Govindasamy L, et al. (2012). Characterization of novel canine bocaviruses and their association with respiratory disease. J Gen Virol (2012), 93, 341–346

Lau SKP, Woo PCY, Yeung HC et al. (2012). Identification and characterization of bocaviruses in cats and dogs reveals a novel feline bocavirus and a novel genetic group of canine bocavirus. J Gen Virol (2012), 93, 1573-1582

Lau SKP, Woo PCY, Yip CC, Li KS, Fu CT, Huang Y, Chan KH, Yuen KY (2011) Co-existence of multiple strains of two novel porcine bocaviruses in the same pig, a previously undescribed phenomenon in Parvoviridae and evidence for inter- and intra-host genetic diversity and recombination. J Gen Virol (2011), 92 no. 9 2047-2059

Li L, Pesavento PA, Leutenegger C, Estrada M, Coffey L, Naccache S, Samayoa E, Chiu C., Qiu J, Wang C, Deng X., & Delwart E. (2013). A novel bocavirus in canine liver. Virology Journal, 10 (1) DOI:10.1186/1743-422X-10-54