Canine Coronavirus

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Canine Coronavirus

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When making the important decision of welcoming a dog into your home, you are accepting responsibility for all their physical, psychological and social needs. Although it is a responsibility to be taken seriously, the joy you receive in return is well worth your dedication as that strong and special bond between dog and owner can be so rewarding.

Part of this responsibility for your dog includes regular health checks and immunizations. However, your dog may still get sick even after taking these precautions, so it is important to be aware of any signs of diseases or illnesses.

This article deals with symptoms and treatments of canine coronavirus, an infectious disease that requires veterinary attention as early as possible.

You may also be interested in: Canine rabies

What is canine coronavirus?

Canine coronavirus is a pathogenic virus that causes an infectious disease in dogs, regardless of factors such as age or breed, although it is true that puppies are most susceptible to the virus.

It is an acute disease. This virus is similar to the common cold that humans suffer from. There is no cure, it is passed from one organism to another and it is self-limiting. As it is an acute disease, there is no chance of chronicity.

The symptoms of the disease begin to manifest after the incubation period of the infection, which usually lasts between 24 and 36 hours. If the disease is prevalent, it is contagious. However, if treated in time there are usually no long-term complications or consequences.

Symptoms of canine coronavirus

If your dog has contracted this disease, take note of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • A temperature exceeding 40°C
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Sudden and foul-smelling diarrhea with signs of blood and mucus.

Your pet may be infected but not show signs of every symptom listed here, so it is vital you go to the vet even if only one symptom is present. The success rate of the treatment largely depends on how quickly the disease is detected.

Canine Coronavirus - Symptoms of canine coronavirus

How is canine coronavirus spread?

Canine coronavirus is excreted through the faeces of a dog, therefore another dog may contract the disease through faecal-oral contact. This behaviour, called coprophagia, consists of eating feces and is the main way this disease spreads.

Once the canine coronavirus has entered the body and the incubation period has passed, it attacks the microvilli of the small intestine (the cells essential for absorbing nutrients) and causes the small intestine to stop functioning. This causes sudden diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Canine Coronavirus - How is canine coronavirus spread?

Treatment of the canine coronavirus

As mentioned above, the treatment of canine coronavirus is palliative since there is no cure other than waiting for the disease to run its course. Ultimately, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing complications.

You can use either one or a combination of the following methods of symptomatic treatment, depending on the case:

  • Fluids: In cases of severe dehydration it is important to replenish the body fluids of the animal.
  • Appetite stimulants: They help the dog to eat and prevent starvation.
  • Antiviral drugs: They decrease the severity of the virus.
  • Antibiotics: They aim to prevent secondary infections that may be caused by the virus.
  • Prokinetic agents: Prokinetic agents are drugs that improve the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. Included in this group are gastric mucosal protection, anti-diarrheal medication and antiemetic drugs which prevent vomiting.

Obviously, a vet is the only person qualified to recommend a treatment of drugs for your pet. These drugs must be used in accordance to the instructions given.

Canine Coronavirus - Treatment of the canine coronavirus

Prevention of canine coronavirus

Preventing canine coronavirus requires only two simple, yet completely necessary steps to keep your pet healthy:

  • Continue with their regular vaccinations
  • Maintain a good standard of hygiene amongst your dog's accessories such as toys or blankets.

You should also keep in mind that proper nutrition and sufficient exercise will help to keep your dog's immune system at its best.

Canine Coronavirus - Prevention of canine coronavirus

If you want to know about how to protect against other viruses and infections, take a look at AnimalWised's health section.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Canine Coronavirus, we recommend you visit our Infectious diseases category.

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