Canine Coronavirus

Overview of Coronavirus in Dogs

Coronavirus (“Corona,” for short) is a virus causing sudden infection in puppies and dogs. It invades the rapidly growing cells of the intestinal lining resulting in nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. The disease can vary from showing no signs of illness at all to severe illness. However, coronavirus does not result in the same degree of illness associated with parvovirus.

Infection is generally attributed to ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces (stool or bowel movement) and can occur when a dog smells or licks the ground; direct contact with another dog is not necessary for infection. Coronavirus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for months after initial ingestion. Dogs at highest risk for infection are unvaccinated puppies or those that have not yet completed their vaccine series.

Kennel environments and dog shows have led to outbreaks of coronavirus. Dogs of all ages can be infected, but puppies and younger dogs are more susceptible. Unsanitary and/or overcrowded kennels may increase your pet’s chance of infection and concurrent infection with parasites, other bacteria or viruses may also increase susceptibility to infection.

Proper vaccination of your pet can best prevent the disease.

What to Watch For

Symptoms of Canine Coronavirus may include:

These are all common symptoms that should prompt you to visit your veterinarian.

Diagnosis of Coronavirus in Dogs

The signs of coronavirus are similar to parvovirus, so the initial diagnostic tests will likely include a parvoviral test, to rule out the presence of this virus. For a definitive diagnosis of coronavirus infection, isolation and identification can be done in some specialized labs.

However, since coronavirus is rarely fatal and readily responds to supportive care, most veterinarians diagnose corona based on typical clinical signs, ruling out other causes of gastroenteritis such as intestinal obstruction and a negative parvo test. Your veterinarian will probably recommend diagnostic tests and, depending on severity of illness, a 24-hour hospital stay for treatment.

Complete medical history and physical examination

Treatment of Coronavirus in Dogs

Therapy is dependent upon the severity of the clinical symptoms. Therapy may include:

Home Care

Preventative Care

In-depth Information on Coronavirus in Dogs

Coronavirus can have symptoms in dogs that are similar to many other diseases. These diseases may include:

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-Depth of Coronavirus in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize coronavirus, and exclude other diseases, including:

Additional diagnostic tests may be recommended on an individual pet basis, including:

Treatment In-Depth of Coronavirus in Dogs

Treatments for coronavirus may include one or more of the following:

Follow-up Care for Coronavirus in Dogs

Allow your pet to rest and regain its strength.

Feces should be picked up and kept from other dogs, because most likely they contain the virus.

Once vomiting has stopped, encourage your dog to drink water. Offer your dog a small amount of water and a bland diet.

Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet.

If your dog is not eating or drinking, is continually tired, vomiting and/or still has diarrhea, call your veterinarian. It takes a few days for stools to normalize.