Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people


Principal Investigator: Eric Ledbetter

Department of Clinical Sciences
Email: ecl32@cornell.edu; Phone: 607-253-3060
Sponsor: College of Veterinary Medicine-Research Grants Program in Animal Health
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Effects of Topical Ophthalmic Ganciclovir in Dogs with Experimental Recurrent Ocular Canine Herpesvirus-1 Infection
Project Amount: $16,420
Project Period: 9/1/13-8/31/14

DESCRIPTION: Canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV-1) is an emerging infectious etiology of ocular disease in domestic dogs. In addition, experimental ocular CHV-1 infection represents a unique host-adapted pathogen animal model of ocular herpes simplex virus-1 infection in humans. Following initial exposure to CHV-1, dogs remain latently infected for life. Reactivation of latent virus and the associated recurrent ocular infection is the primary source of clinically-relevant ocular disease and ocular morbidity in dogs associated with CHV-1.

The understanding of CHV-1 pathophysiology and clinical characteristics of CHV-1 ocular infections in domestic dogs has expanding rapidly in the past several years. Despite these advancements, much remains to be elucidated. Of particular importance are improvements in the area of clinical treatment. Currently, the most common therapies administered by veterinarians for these infections are topical ophthalmic antivirals. The antiviral medications that are being used clinically were chosen by extrapolating medical knowledge from humans or other animal species to dogs. There are currently no publications describing controlled experimental or clinical studies to determine the safety and efficacy of any topical ophthalmic antiviral in dogs with ocular CHV-1 infections. Ganciclovir is a relatively new antiviral available for topical ocular use. Ganciclovir has broad-spectrum antiviral activity against herpesviruses and selectively targets viral DNA, resulting in less toxicity to host cells and a favorable tolerability profile.

The study described in this proposal will determine if topical ocular application of ganciclovir 0.15% ophthalmic gel is a safe and effective treatment for ocular CHV-1 infection in domestic dogs. Specifically, this project will determine if topical ganciclovir antiviral treatment of dogs with ocular CHV-1 infection induced by immunosuppression: (i) reduces the severity and duration of recurrent CHV-1 clinical ocular disease, (ii) reduces the severity of in vivo confocal microscopic ocular lesions of recurrent CHV-1 ocular disease, and (iii) reduces the magnitude and duration of ocular CHV-1 shedding. To accomplish these specific aims, a masked, randomized, placebo-controlled trial will be performed.