Corona virus disease is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies.
The virus was identified only in 1971 (not so long ago). The virus is short lived. The cause is a virus of the Coronaviridae family. Different corona viruses cause infections in many species of animals and birds. Canine coronavirus does not affect people.
Mode of transmission
Most cases of canine corona virus are contracted by oral contact with infected fecal matter. A dog may also become infected by eating from contaminated food bowls or by direct contact with an infected dog. Crowding and unsanitary condition especially in kennel favors the transmission of the disease. Incubation period (the time between infection and showing sign by animal) is 1 to 4 days. This disease is usually accompanied or seen with Parvo disease. Similarly secondary infection by other bacteria, parasites can also be seen and prolong the illness. Dog may be carrier up to 6 months.
Most corona virus infections are sub-clinical and produce few clinical signs in dogs. Occasionally an infection may cause more severe symptoms, particularly in young pups. The most typical symptom is diarrhea, typically sudden in onset, which may be accompanied by lethargy and decreased appetite. The stool is loose, with a fetid odor and orange tint. It may contain blood or mucus. If a pup has a mixed infection, for instance both corona virus and Parvovirus the illness will be more severe. The main difficulty in this disease is that it is confused with Parvo disease as the symptoms of both disease are more or less similar. Puppies can get corona then Parvo or vice versa.
As it is viral infection there is no specific treatment. Antibiotic are used to control secondary bacterial infection. Dog and puppies are kept in intravenous drip for few days till recovery. Withholding food for twenty-four hours after diarrhea ceases and gradually reintroducing small amounts of food may be the only required treatment.
If your dog shows the sign of diarrhea and stomach upset contact your vet ASAP so that he can access the situation and comes into definitive diagnosis for further treatment .
For prevention vaccine are available which can be given in 8 week puppies. Booster vaccination is highly recommended for proper protection against the disease.
Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
At present, as the world is in crisis of noble corona virus epidemic in the world especially in China, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
Written by Dr Pratik Man Pradhan B.V.Sc &A.H
Mount Everest Kennel Club