Perhaps through your own experience or via other pet owners, you've heard about Canine Coronavirus (CCoV) disease. It is a highly infectious intestinal disease that affects dogs, especially puppies. However, rest assured, it is not the same coronavirus associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic. (And to make it even more confusing, there's another coronavirus that causes respiratory disease.) But CCoV can still make your dog very uncomfortable for a few days, and in some cases, be quite serious. Here's what you need to know about "the other coronavirus."
About Canine Coronavirus
CCoV was first brought to the attention of the veterinary community in 1971. The virus is a member of the family Coronaviridae, whose name derives from the fact that when viewed under a microscope, it resembles a coronet or small crown. CCoV is spread through dog feces and is most prevalent in young dogs housed in group situations, such as animal shelters and breeding facilities. Typically, it causes mild symptoms, but it can be more serious in dogs who are in poor condition or weakened from another underlying medical condition. Dogs infected with CCoV are very susceptible to other diseases, such as parvo and distemper, which can cause a more serious, even fatal infection.
Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention
Symptoms of CCoV typically are confined to the gastrointestinal tract and include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If you notice any symptoms, especially if your pup was recently exposed to other dogs that showed symptoms, have your veterinarian check them out. They will diagnose the disease by microscopically finding virus particles in your dog's feces. Treatment usually consists of treating the diarrhea, but more serious cases may require supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids for dehydration. If you have other dogs in your home, try to keep them separated so the virus doesn't spread, and make sure you quickly pick up feces.
There is a vaccine to prevent CCoV. If you know your dog will be in a high-risk environment, such as a boarding kennel or daycare center, it's a good idea to get the vaccination a few weeks beforehand so they can build protective immunity.
A Note About the COVID-19 Virus and Your Dog
Although this article is about the other coronavirus, it's important to stay updated with current information about COVID-19. There is much that is unknown about the virus and how it might affect your pets. The threat for your pup seems to be low, although there have been a few reports of dogs being infected by their owners, so it's wise to minimize exposure to known cases. Dogs could carry the virus on their fur or paws and pass it to humans, so observe current medical advice about frequent hand washing and disinfecting environmental surfaces. It's much better to take a few precautions than risk infecting you or your furry friend.
For more information, contact a local vet clinic like Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.
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