OBJECTIVE To determine the in vitro half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of ganciclovir for canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV-1) and to evaluate the efficacy of ganciclovir ophthalmic gel in dogs with experimentally induced ocular CHV-1 infection.
ANIMALS 10 specific pathogen–free adult Beagles.
PROCEDURES Cytotoxicity and EC50 of ganciclovir for CHV-1 were determined during in vitro experiments. During an in vivo experiment, dogs with experimentally induced ocular CHV-1 infections received 1 drop of 0.15% ganciclovir (ganciclovir group; n = 5) or artificial tear (control group; 5) ophthalmic gel in both eyes 5 times daily for 7 days, then 3 times daily for 7 days. For each dog, ophthalmic and confocal microscopic examinations were performed at predetermined times to determine severity of ocular disease and inflammation. Conjunctival swab specimens were collected at predetermined times for PCR assay analysis to determine CHV-1 shedding.
RESULTS No in vitro cytotoxic effects were observed for ganciclovir concentrations ≤ 500μM. The EC50 of ganciclovir for CHV-1 was 37.7μM. No adverse effects associated with ganciclovir were observed during the in vivo experiment. Mean ocular disease and inflammation scores for the ganciclovir group were significantly lower than those for the control group. Mean duration of CHV-1 shedding for the ganciclovir group (0.4 days) was significantly shorter than that for the control group (6.2 days).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Topical administration of 0.15% ganciclovir ophthalmic gel was well tolerated and effective in decreasing clinical disease scores, ocular tissue inflammation, and duration of viral shedding in dogs with experimentally induced ocular CHV-1 infection.