Coronavirus In Dogs – Symptoms And Treatment

coronavirus canine dog

When we make the important decision to welcome a dog into our home, we accept the responsibility of covering all its physical, psychological and social needs, which we will undoubtedly do with pleasure, because the emotional bond which is created between an animal company and its owner is very special and strong.

Dogs require periodic health checks, as well as compliance with the recommended vaccination schedule, however, even if these basic principles are followed, it is very possible that our dog will get sick, so it is very important to be aware of all the signs that warn us of a possible pathology. On this occasion, at ‘Pets Feed ‘, we will talk about the symptoms and treatment of coronavirus in dogs, an infectious disease which, although it progresses favorably, also requires veterinary attention as soon as possible.

What is canine coronavirus?

Canine coronavirus is a viral pathogen that causes an infectious disease in dogs regardless of their age, breed, or other factors, although it is true that puppies are more susceptible to this infection. It belongs to the Coronaviridae family and the most common species in dogs is Aplhacoronavirus 1, which is part of the genus Alphacoronavirus.

It is an acute illness. To better understand this concept, we can compare it with the cold from which humans generally suffer, because coronavirus is a viral disease, without remedy, which must not be transmitted and which is self-limited, that is to say with an acute evolution and without possibility of chronification.

Canine coronavirus incubation period

Symptoms of the disease begin to appear after the incubation period, which usually lasts between 24 and 36 hours. It is as contagious as it is prevalent, although if treated in time it does not usually have complications or later sequelae.

Does 2019-nCoV affect dogs?

The coronavirus that affects dogs is different from the feline coronavirus and also different from 2019-nCoV. Since this new discovered strain is still under study, it cannot be said or denied that it affects dogs. In fact, experts suspect that it is very likely to affect any mammal, as it is believed to come from certain wild animals.

Canine coronavirus symptoms

Symptoms of coronavirus in dogs generally coincide with those of coronavirus in humans, however, not all signs are the same. The most common in dogs are:

  • Temperature above 40 ° C
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • The dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sudden, fetid diarrhea, with blood and mucus

Fever is the most representative symptom of canine coronavirus, as is the loss of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea. As we can see, all the clinical signs described could coincide with other pathologies, so it is important to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis.

On the other hand, it is possible that the dog is infected and does not manifest all the symptoms mentioned, which further reinforces the importance of going to the clinic. The success of coronavirus treatment in dogs will depend, to a large extent, on the rate at which it is applied.

How is dog coronavirus spread?

Dog coronavirus is excreted in the feces, so the route of infection through which this viral load passes from one dog to another is through fecal-oral contact, being a significant risk group for all dogs with a behavioral disorder called coprophagia, which involves eating stool.

Once the dogs’ coronavirus has entered the body and the incubation period has ended, it attacks the microvilli of the intestine (cells essential for the absorption of nutrients) and causes them to lose their functionality, which Suddenly causes diarrhea and inflammation of the digestive system.

Canine coronavirus spread to humans?

The coronavirus, which only affects dogs, that is, Aplhacoronavirus 1, is not transmitted to humans. As we said, it is a virus that can only be transmitted between dogs, so if you are wondering if the coronavirus from dogs is transmitted to cats, the answer is also no.

Now, if there is a case of 2019-nCoV infection in dogs, which is a zoonosis, it could spread to humans. However, as we indicated above, it remains to be studied whether dogs can be infected or not.

How to cure canine coronavirus? – Treatment

The treatment of coronavirus in dogs is palliative, because there is no cure except to wait until the disease has finished its natural course. Treatment focuses primarily on relieving symptoms and preventing possible complications.

That said, when in doubt about how to treat canine coronavirus, we find that the answer is by means of symptomatic treatment methods, either singly or in combination, depending on each specific case. In general, treatments for dog coronavirus include:

  • Fluids: in case of severe dehydration, they are used to replace the body fluids of the animal lost due to vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Appetite stimulants: they allow the dog to continue to eat, thus avoiding a state of starvation.
  • Antivirals: they work by reducing the viral load.
  • Antibiotics: used to control secondary infections that may have been caused by the virus.
  • Prokinetics: prokinetics are the drugs intended to improve the processes of the digestive tract, we can include in this group protectors of the gastric mucosa, antidiarrheals and antiemetics, aiming to prevent vomiting.

The veterinarian is the only person trained to recommend pharmacological treatment to our pet and it must be used following the specific instructions provided to the clinic.

Canine coronavirus vaccine

Currently, there is no vaccine against dog coronavirus that acts as a remedy. What exists is a preventive vaccine based on a modified live virus which allows the animal to benefit from sufficient immunity to protect itself against this disease. However, being vaccinated against canine coronavirus does not mean that the animal has full immunity, i.e. it can also spread but, most likely, the clinical signs will be milder and the process shorter recovery.

So, is the coronavirus curable?

The fact that there is no cure for canine coronavirus does not mean that the animal cannot be cured. In fact, the mortality rate from canine coronavirus is very low and usually includes older immunocompromised dogs or puppies. That said, coronavirus in dogs is curable.

Caring for a Dog with Coronavirus

In addition to the veterinarian’s coronavirus treatment, it is important to take certain measures into account in order to prevent the virus from infecting other dogs and to promote adequate recovery of the sick dog. These are:

  • Keep the sick dog isolated.

As we mentioned, it is essential to establish a “quarantine” period until the animal completely eliminates the virus to avoid a new contagion. In addition, as the virus is transmitted through feces, it is essential to collect it properly and, if possible, to disinfect the area.

  • Give foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics and probiotics help restore the dog’s gut flora and strengthen the immune system. It is therefore important to offer them during a recovery process like this, in which the virus has no other remedy than to stimulate the immune system.

  • Establish a good diet.

A proper diet can also help strengthen the immune system of the dog with coronavirus, in addition to avoiding possible malnutrition. Likewise, it is very important to check that you are drinking water to treat dehydration.

Avoid stress Stressful situations can significantly affect the clinical picture. Therefore, when it comes to combating canine coronavirus, it should be taken into account that the animal should remain as calm and calm as possible.

How long does canine coronavirus last?

The duration of canine coronavirus in the dog’s body is variable. The recovery time will depend entirely on each case, the animal’s immune system, if it has secondary infections or, on the contrary, it improves without difficulty, etc. Of course, throughout this process, it is essential to keep the dog isolated from other dogs to avoid a possible spread of the virus. Although you will notice the animal better, it is best to avoid such contact until you are completely sure that the virus has been eliminated.

Prevention of canine coronavirus

After finding that there is no cure for canine coronavirus and that its treatment is symptomatic, the most appropriate in all cases is to try to prevent its infection. The prevention of canine coronavirus requires only simple actions but completely necessary to maintain the state of health of our pet:

  • Continue with the established vaccination program.
  • Maintain optimal hygienic conditions in our dog’s accessories, such as toys or blankets.
  • Treat coprophagia by the hand of a canine educator or an ethologist if it exists.
  • Avoid contact with sick dogs, although this is the most complicated since it is not always possible to know that they are infected.
  • Offer quality food to guarantee the animal a strong immune system.
  • We must also remember that practicing the physical exercise that the dog needs will help maintain the immune system in good condition.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to bring your pet to the veterinarian in case he has any type of condition or discomfort.


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