When you make the important decision to welcome a dog into your home, you accept the responsibility of covering all his physical, mental and social needs, something you will do with great pleasure, because the emotional bond that is created between you and your pet is as special as it is strong.
Dogs require periodic health checks, as well as following the recommended vaccination program, however, even by fulfilling these prerequisites it is more than possible that your dog may become ill, which is why it will be very important that you pay attention to all the symptoms that may alert you to a possible illness. Therefore, in this new article Dog Coronavirus – Symptoms and Treatment, we will talk about the symptoms and treatment of dog coronavirus, an infectious disease which, if it evolves favorably, requires veterinary attention more than fast.
What is the dog coronavirus?
Dog coronavirus is a viral pathogen that causes infectious disease in dogs, regardless of age, breed, or other factors, although it is true that puppies are more susceptible to infection. It belongs to the family Coronaviridae and the most common form of coronavirus in dogs is Aplhacoronavirus 1, which belongs to the genus Alphacoronavirus.
It is an acutely developing disease. To better understand this concept, one could compare it with the cold one suffers from, because the coronavirus is a viral disease, without a cure, which can only be transmitted and which is self-limited, that is to say, with an acute development and without the possibility of becoming chronic.
Incubation period of canine coronavirus
Symptoms of the disease begin to appear after the incubation period, which lasts between 24 and 36 hours. It is a disease that is as contagious as it is widespread, although if treated in time, it usually has no complications or after-effects.
Does 2019-nCoV affect dogs?
The coronavirus that affects dogs is different from the cat’s coronavirus and also from 2019-nCoV. As this newly discovered strain is currently being studied, it is not possible to say or disprove that it affects dogs. Experts suspect that it is likely that it is capable of affecting any mammal since it is assumed to come from certain wild animals.
Symptoms of the dog coronavirus
The symptoms of dog coronavirus coincide with those of human coronavirus, however, they are not all equal. The most common symptoms in dogs are as follows:
*Temperature above 40ºC
*Loss of appetite and weight
* Abdominal pain
* Sudden diarrhea and fetid, with blood and mucus
Fever is the most typical symptom of the dog’s coronavirus, along with fluid loss caused by vomiting and/or diarrhea. As we will see, all of the clinical symptoms described may coincide with other pathologies, which is why you must take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis.
On the other hand, there is the possibility that a dog may be infected but may not show all the symptoms mentioned, which makes it even more important to take your dog to the vet. The success of treating your dog’s coronavirus will depend, to a large extent, on how quickly you act.
How is the dog’s coronavirus transmitted?
Dog coronavirus is excreted through the feces, the route of transmission by which this viral load passes from one dog to another is through fecal-oral contact. The group of dogs suffering from the behavioral disorder known as coprophagia, which is the ingestion of feces, is most susceptible to catching canine coronavirus.
Once the canine coronavirus has entered the body and has completed its incubation period, it attacks the microvilli of the intestine (cells essential for nutrient absorption), causing the loss of their functionality, resulting in sudden diarrhea and inflammation of the digestive tract.
Is the dog’s coronavirus transmissible to humans?
The coronavirus that only affects dogs, i.e. Aplhacoronavirus 1, is not transmissible to humans. As we said, it is a virus that is only transmitted between dogs, so if you ask yourself whether canine coronavirus is transmissible to cats, the answer is also negative.
Now, all right, if a case of 2019-nCoV infection occurs in a dog, it’s a zoonosis, which means it’s transmissible from human to animal. Nevertheless, as we said earlier, this virus is still under study and at the time of writing, there is no evidence that dogs can be infected, or not, with this strain of coronavirus.
Treatment of dog coronavirus
Treatment of the dog’s coronavirus is palliative, as there is no cure except to wait for the disease to follow its natural course. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing possible complications.
That said, when faced with the doubt of how to treat the dog’s coronavirus, we will see that the answer lies in symptomatic treatment methods, alone or combination, depending exclusively on each case. In general, treatments for dog coronavirus include :
Fluids: in cases of severe dehydration, fluid therapy is used to restore the body fluids that the animal has lost due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Appetite stimulators: they allow the dog to continue feeding, thus avoiding a state of starvation.
Antivirals: they act by lowering the viral load.
Antibiotics: intended to control secondary infections that may have been caused by the action of the virus.
Prokinetics: Prokinetics are drugs intended to improve the digestive process. It is possible to include in this group the protectors of the gastric mucous membrane, anti-diarrhoeics, and antiemetics, intended to prevent vomiting.
The veterinarian is the only person who can recommend pharmacological treatment for your pet and it should be used according to the specific instructions given to you by your veterinarian.
Dog Coronavirus Vaccine
Currently, there is still no vaccine against the dog coronavirus that acts as a cure. What does exist is a preventive vaccine made with a modified live virus that gives the animal sufficient immunity to protect it against this disease. However, being vaccinated against the dog’s coronavirus does not mean that the animal is completely immune, i.e. it may be infected, but most likely the clinical symptoms will be milder and the healing process will be shorter.
Is the dog’s coronavirus curable?
The fact that there is no cure for dog coronavirus does not mean that the animal cannot be cured. The mortality rate of canine coronavirus is very low and includes immunocompromised, older dogs, or puppies. Having said that, the dog’s coronavirus is therefore curable.
Caring for a dog with coronavirus
In addition to the coronavirus treatment prescribed by your veterinarian, there are several other measures you should consider to prevent the virus from spreading to other dogs and to promote a good recovery of the sick dog. Here are the steps you should take:
-Keep the sick dog in isolation. As we said, establishing a quarantine period until the animal eliminates the virus is fundamental to avoid further contagion. Thus, because the virus is transmitted through the stools, it is essential that you pick them up properly and, if possible, disinfect the area.
-Giving him/her food rich in prebiotics and probiotics. Both prebiotics and probiotics help to restore the dog’s intestinal flora and strengthen the immune system, which is why it is so important to feed them to your dog during a healing process like this, where there is no other remedy besides strengthening the immune system to fight the virus.
-Introduce good nutrition. Proper nutrition can also help strengthen the immune system of a dog with coronavirus, in addition to preventing a possible case of mal-nutrition. Besides, it is also very important that you make sure he drinks well so that he doesn’t become dehydrated.
Avoid stress. Stressful situations can greatly affect the clinical picture, that is why, when it comes to fighting the dog’s coronavirus, it is important to take into account that the animal must be as calm as possible.
Duration of the dog’s coronavirus
The duration of the dog’s coronavirus in the body is variable. The recovery time will depend on each case, the animal’s immunological system, whether it has secondary infections or, on the contrary, whether it heals easily, etc… During the entire recovery process, you must keep your dog separate from other dogs to avoid a possible spread of the virus. Even if you can see that your dog is getting better, it is always best to keep him in isolation until you are sure that the virus has been eliminated.
Prevention of dog coronavirus
After seeing that there is no cure for the dog’s coronavirus and that its treatment is symptomatic, the most appropriate in all cases is to try to prevent your dog from contracting this disease. Preventing coronavirus only requires simple but completely necessary actions to keep your dog healthy:
- Religiously follow the established vaccination program.
- Maintain optimal hygienic conditions for your dog’s accessories, such as toys or blankets.
- Treat coprophagia with the advice of a dog trainer or an ethologist.
- Avoid contact with sick dogs, this measure is more complicated to apply because it is not always so obvious whether a dog is sick or not.
*Provide quality food to ensure that your pet has a strong immune system.
It should also be remembered that having your dog exercise will help his immune system to be in good shape.
This article is purely informative, we do not have the expertise to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to bring your animal to the veterinarian if it presents the symptoms of a febrility or a disease.