Coronavirus in a Canine

Canine coronavirus infects the upper part of the intestine.
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Canine coronavirus causes stomach upset in dogs. It merely sickens adult dogs, but coronavirus infection in a puppy can be lethal. Understanding coronavirus and recognizing its symptoms are hedges against the pathogen if your dog picks it up.

The Virus

Veterinarians abbrivate canine coronavirus as CCV or CCoV. The virus belongs to the positive-sense RNA virus group. CCV is related to both the human coronavirus that causes the common cold and the canine respiratory coronavirus that causes kennel cough. The virus is common in the environment and can incubate for one to three days. The capsid, or surface of the virus, has adaptations to resist acid, allowing it to survive the trip through a dog's stomach. The virus infects the cells of the villi of the intestines.


When CCV infects the intestines, it can cause a number of problems for your dog. Infection with CCV typically causes vomiting and diarrhea, which can in turn lead to poor appetite and dehydration. The stress from the infection can trigger depression in dogs. Other viruses cause similar symptoms and have the same treatments, so veterinarians will often not bother to figure out the exact virus causing the symptoms. In adult dogs, CCV infection is typically mild and not serious. However, the infection can be lethal for puppies.


The best way to prevent CCV infection is through vaccination. You should keep puppies and vaccinated adult puppies out of public until they get their shots. Keep in mind that unsanitary and crowded conditions make it more likely for dogs to contract this virus. Unlike some canine viruses like the dreaded parvo, you can easily kill CCV with a 3 percent bleach solution.


Treatments for CCV infection mostly treat the symptoms rather than the virus itself, helping the dog fight off the virus with his own immune system. For example, keeping the dog hydrated helps him fight off the virus. In extreme cases, veterinarians may need to take more extreme measures, like hooking a dog to an IV to keep him hydrated through the vomiting and diarrhea. In most cases, veterinary intervention can help a dog make a full recovery from the infection.