Rota ia a latin word which means wheel. Rotavirus is called so due to its wheel-shaped appearence. This double-stranded virus is the cause of intestinal inflammation. Rotavirus infection triggers inflammation of the intestines. In severe cases, the rotavirus infection can cause dysfunction of the intestinal walls.
A leading cause of gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhea in dogs, the rotavirus most commonly affects young puppies, usually under 12 weeks old. Immunity develops with each infection, so subsequent infections are less severe; adults are rarely affected.
The virus is shed in the feces of the infected dog and is transmitted to its new host via mouth. Once inside the mouth, the virus travels towards gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). It is relatively resistant to acid and lipid solvents and reaches the intestines. Once there, the virus starts damaging the small intestine's villi. However, fresh cells take over for the damaged ones. This is why the virus is usually not very problematic for the affected animals.
Primary symptom of rotavirus infection is mild to moderate watery diarrhea. In severe cases, the dog may be dehydrated, experience weight loss and unwillingness to eat. Fatigue and lethargy may also be noticeable.