Understanding the Coronavirus in Dogs – American Kennel Club

In the dog community, the word “coronavirus” is far from new. For decades, we have known that dogs can contract coronaviruses. In fact, the canine coronavirus was first discovered in Germany in 1971 after an outbreak among guard dogs, and vaccines have been available in most veterinary surgeries for years. These coronaviruses, however, are not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

Common types of coronavirus in dogs

Canine enteric coronavirus (CECoV)

Canine enteric coronavirus is a highly contagious intestinal infection seen primarily in young puppies. It is spread through oral contact with infected feces and causes diarrhea that resolves on its own in adult dogs, but can be more serious in young puppies. A vaccine is available. This virus is not contagious to other species.

Symptoms of CeCov:

  • depression / lethargy
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • bloody diarrhea or diarrhea

Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV)

The canine respiratory coronavirus is genetically linked to the common cold in humans. It is spread through direct dog-to-dog contact and causes acute respiratory symptoms and contributes to the canine infectious respiratory disease complex (sometimes called CIRDC or kennel cough). No vaccine is available for this respiratory virus, although there are vaccines for some of the other causes of CIRDC, such as canine influenza virus, distemper virus, and Bordetella. The canine respiratory coronavirus is not contagious to other species.

Common types of coronavirus in humans

SARS-CoV

SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) was first recognized in China in 2002. This virus is believed to originate in bats before being transmitted to civets and then to humans. No cases have been reported worldwide since 2004. This virus is not considered to be a threat to dogs.

MERS-CoV

MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, all cases have been linked to countries on or near the Arabian Peninsula. It is believed that this virus originated in bats before being transmitted to camels and then to humans. This virus is not considered to be a threat to dogs.

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

SARS-CoV-2 is a viral infection identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness in humans first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness it causes has been dubbed “disease coronavirus 2019 ”or“ COVID-19 ”. The first SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. This virus is not considered to be a threat to dogs.

Can a canine coronavirus be transmitted to humans?

There is a report from May 2021 on the discovery of a canine coronavirus in a small number of Malaysian patients hospitalized in 2018. It is not the same coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The report indicates a correlation, but not a causation in these patients and at this time, the virus does not appear to pose a significant human health problem.

These findings are the result of a new test that has a more refined way of detecting the changes a virus must undergo to infect humans. This new information could hopefully be useful for the future early detection of new coronavirus infections, as well as for treatment and prevention.

If you are concerned that your dog is showing symptoms of canine coronavirus, contact your veterinarian immediately.


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