Canine coronavirus is a viral infection that normally targets young puppies. The infection causes problems with the intestinal lining. Some dogs infected by the virus will show few if any symptoms, while others may develop a severe case of it.
Coronavirus in dogs usually occurs whenever they come into contact with contaminated feces. They may lick it or simply stick their nose in it. Most adult dogs won’t develop symptoms after being exposed to the virus. Puppies that are less than three months old will generally be too weak to avoid getting sick. Although many of them are able to fight the virus off successfully, quite a few can die.
The main sign of canine coronavirus is diarrhea. It can range from mild to severe. The diarrhea may even have traces of blood that have a foul odor. Other common symptoms include nausea, appetite loss, and depression. Although vomiting can occur, it usually isn’t all that common.
Coronavirus in dogs causes many of the same signs as parvovirus, although not quite as severe. Therefore, the vet will conduct a test to rule out the latter disease if a dog presents with many of these symptoms. Other causes such as gastroenteritis may also be to blame, so they need to be ruled out as well. A medical history, physical exam, blood test, stool test, abdominal x-ray, and negative parvovirus test will all help yield an accurate diagnosis.
As is the case with many types of viruses, there is no specific treatment for canine coronavirus. Supportive therapy is the main course of action. Dogs, especially younger dogs, can easily become dehydrated. Fluid therapy given intravenously or subcutaneously will help keep dehydration at bay.
There are vaccines available to protect against coronavirus in dogs. These vaccines can help protect dogs of all ages. Some areas of the country will have problems with this virus much more than others. If this is the case for your area, then it is best that you keep your dog’s vaccination up-to-date.