Brightwood Animal Hospital

9640 Old Johnnycake Ridge Rd
Mentor, OH 44060


Canine Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease a viral infection of dogs that infects the intestines. The condition is usually short in duration. However, it may cause considerable discomfort while the dog has the infection. The cause is a virus of the Coronavirus family. The coronavirus family is very large and affects many species. Humans are not affected by the canine coronavirus.

How is the virus spread?

Dogs that are infected can shed the virus through their feces and saliva for several weeks. The virus is then spread to other dogs who may share the food or water bowls, or come in contact with the infected dogs stool. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions also promote transmission. The period from exposure to clinical signs is one to five days.

How do I know if my dog has coronavirus?

Many infections are mild and there may be no apparent signs. Some infections are more severe, particularly in young puppies. Concurrent infections with other viruses, for instance with the parvovirus, may intensify the disease. There is usually sudden onset of diarrhea. The dog may also be lethargic and have decreased appetite. The stool is loose, odorous, and may be bloody. The major sign is diarrhea.

Are there diseases similar to coronavirus disease?

Since diarrhea is the most common sign, there are many conditions that can mimic coronavirus. Parvovirus infection will also cause bloody diarrhea. Parvo is a much more dangerous condition. Dietary indiscretion, new diets, and parasitism are a few other things that can cause diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog develops diarrhea.

How is coronavirus treated?

There is no specific treatment for a gastrointestinal virus. The therapy is meant to support the dogs immune system while it reacts to the virus. Most coronavirus infections run their course in a few days. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection. Withhold food for 24 hours. Gradually introduce a bland diet of boiled rice and ground meat. The ground meat should be cooked first and the fat strained off. Small amounts of water should be offered throughout the day. If the dog becomes dehydrated fluid therapy may be necessary. Your veterinarian can recommend the best treatment after examining your pet.

Can coronavirus be prevented?

Yes, your veterinarian can include the coronavirus vaccination with your pet's annual vaccination program.

by William M. Fraser, D.V.M.

Brightwood Animal Hospital serves Mentor, Concord, Painesville and the surrounding communities.

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