Canine Coronavirus

Causative Agent: Canine coronavirus (CCV) another disease of the digestive tract of puppies which is similar to, although generally not as severe as, parvovirus. As the name implies, this disease is caused by a virus that infects the digestive tract. Several different strains of CCV have been found.

Clinical Signs: Similar to parvovirus, clinical signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (occasionally with blood), lethargy, and decreased appetite.

Disease Transmission: This usually occurs when feces from an infected animal are ingested by another. Fecal contamination of the environment and objects such as bowls and toys are common methods of transmission. CCV is highly contagious and will spread rapidly among susceptible dogs.

Diagnosis: It can be difficult to make a definitive (precise) diagnosis of canine coronavirus. Sometimes, by examining a fresh stool sample, CCV can be seen with an electron microscope (found only in specialized laboratories). Because most dogs recover spontaneously, other available tests are not generally used.

Treatment: Supportive care, correction of dehydration, and prevention of secondary bacterial infections are needed in severe cases. If CCV and canine parvovirus (CPV-2) both occur simultaneously in the same animal, the combined infections can be worse than either infection alone. Some puppies with parvovirus that continue to deteriorate in spite of aggressive treatment are suspected of having coronavirus infection as a complicating factor.

Prevention: Vaccination of puppies with a coronavirus vaccine is the best prevention. These puppies will also require additional boosters of coronavirus. In some areas, veterinarians find it useful to also vaccinate adults on a yearly basis. Coronavirus has caused problems when administered together with leptospirosis in the same vaccine. An animal may be safely vaccinated for both diseases at the same time as long as the corona vaccine and the leptospirosis vaccine are administered in different sites. See page A905 for vaccination recommendations.