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Can My Dog Get Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a highly infectious intestinal ailment in dogs, especially puppies. Coronavirus is usually short-lived but may cause serious tummy trouble for a few days in infected dogs. It’s important to note that coronavirus in dogs is an intestinal infection and is very different from the current global human respiratory epidemic (COVID-19).

How is coronavirus transmitted to dogs?

“There’s currently no evidence that dogs can become infected with the new coronavirus.” says Kristen Bernard, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, referring to COVID-19. This claim is also consistent with the WHO’s statement on the matter.

Most cases of canine coronavirus are contracted by oral contact with infected fecal matter. A dog may also become infected by eating from contaminated food bowls or by direct contact with an infected dog. Crowding and unsanitary conditions lead to coronavirus transmission. Secondary infections by bacteria, parasites, and other viruses may develop and prolong illness and recovery. Dogs may be carriers of the disease for up to six months (180 days) after infection.

Symptoms of coronavirus in dogs

While human contracted COVID-19 causes respiratory symptoms, canine coronavirus is quite different. Few dogs show clinical signs of coronavirus, but occasionally an infection may cause more severe symptoms, particularly in young pups. The most typical symptom is sudden diarrhea, which may be combined with sleepiness and decreased appetite. Stool will be loose, and particularly foul-smelling (yes, worse than usual!) and orange-tinged. It may contain blood or mucus. A mixed infection (coronavirus and another infection) could cause more severe results. Additional symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Fever (occasionally)

Medical issue in dogs that can be confused with coronavirus

Canine parvovirus (CPV) can be confused with canine enteric coronavirus (CECoV) since both infections cause similar results and are known for causing severe diarrhea in dogs. To reiterate, there is no reason to believe that your pup can contract human coronavirus (COVID-19).

When to take your dog to the vet

Some dogs have a higher risk of developing coronavirus. Young dogs, shelter/rescue dogs, and dogs from breeding kennels and pet stores are more likely to become ill. Additionally, dogs that regularly visit groomers, dog parks, or live in multiple pet homes are also more likely to become infected. Canine coronavirus vaccines are available. This vaccine is not recommended for all pups and will need to be approved by a veterinarian based on your dog's lifestyle and risk assessment.

If you have an at-risk dog and you notice them exhibiting any coronavirus symptoms, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. Although there is no cure for canine coronavirus, antibiotics can be given to treat secondary bacterial infections.