Coronavirus Infection in Dogs: Can Dogs Get Sick With It?

A coronavirus is an RNA — containing virus belonging to the Canine Coronavirus family. It got its name because of the characteristic outgrowths in the form of crown teeth on the shells.

Animal coronavirus is similar to a similar human infection, but a cat or dog cannot cause human disease, although it can easily “transmit” it to other animals, such as livestock or other family Pets.

Viruses from this family are not stable in the external environment. In feces at room temperature, it can not withstand more than 48 hours, when heated to 56 degrees, it dies in 10 minutes, the same time it can last in a solution of soda. It is damaged by drugs that can break down or dissolve fat, such as chloroform and ether.

Coronavirus causes a special form of enteritis in dogs, an acute infectious disease with a high degree of contagion. It leads to hemorrhagic (bleeding) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This disease causes severe dehydration and provokes complete exhaustion of the PSA. If you do not diagnose the disease in time and do not start treatment, the dog may die.

Causes of the disease

The virus is spread by the fecal-oral route, less often by the fecal-nasal route. When introduced into the dog’s body, it settles in the cells of the epithelium of the small intestine, colon and in the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx. It causes their destruction and necrosis, which leads to ulceration. In the circulatory system, the coronavirus invades the walls of blood vessels and damages them.

Erosions and ulcers are open gates to other infections. Since there is a constant presence of microflora in the nasopharynx and intestines, including pathogenic ones, infection occurs, and the dog’s body begins to suffer from inflammatory processes and intoxication.

In the end, the animal may die from severe exhaustion, accompanied by dehydration.

Which breeds are more susceptible

Dogs of any breed can get sick with coronavirus enteritis. At risk are puppies up to five months of age and animals that live crowded, especially in kennels and shelters.

If the family has cats or other Pets, they can also cause the introduction of the virus. The threat increases if the animals are free-range and come into contact with stray or wild animals.

The main symptoms

External manifestations of the disease depend on a number of factors, including the age and health of the animal. The incubation period is from 1 to 7 days, the virus is released 14 days from the moment of infection, and antibodies can be detected on the 5th day.

Coronavirus enteritis manifests itself in three forms:

  • Super-sharp. It most often appears in puppies aged 2 to 8 weeks when a mixed infection enters the body. The dog loses its appetite, becomes lethargic, vomits, and suffers from severe diarrhea with blood. The body temperature rises to critical, the dog dies within a day or two.
  • Sharp. This form is also characteristic of young animals. Clinical manifestations are the same as in the super-acute form: severe diarrhea, vomiting, refusal to eat, dehydration and cardiac disorders.
  • Hidden. In this form, all signs of the disease are poorly expressed, that is, the dog can refuse food, he has a depressive state, lethargy, digestive disorders in the form of a chronic form of diarrhea, exhaustion, problems with the cardiovascular system. This form of the disease is typical for dogs with low immunity and for carriers of infection.

Treatment in the presence of coronavirus should be fast, correct and high-quality, and for this you need to contact a veterinary clinic.


Laboratory tests are the most accurate and quickest way to detect the disease. They allow you to get an accurate diagnosis and quickly start treatment. To do this, an immunological blood test is performed. It makes it possible to detect specific antibodies, which will immediately indicate the presence of a viral infection.

Diagnostics using the immune chromatography technique is very accurate, since antibodies bind only to their “own” antigen. Based on the data obtained, the veterinarian can prescribe appropriate treatment. This is especially important if the dog has a mixed infection.

In this situation, a complete cure will not occur if the drugs act only against one of several pathogens of the disease.

Treatment method and prognosis

In an acute condition, a sick animal must be hospitalized, as it requires emergency medical care. The sooner this is done, the better the chances of survival and full recovery. Recall that the death of puppies in the super-acute stage can occur within the first day of the disease.

Therapeutic measures are always prescribed in a comprehensive manner. They are selected exclusively by a veterinarian, since self-medication can lead to severe consequences up to a fatal outcome.

The set of measures consists of the following actions:

  • The use of immunostimulating drugs. It is important to strengthen the animal’s own immune system so that it can resist viral infection.
  • If there is an additional or attached bacterial infection, the dog is prescribed specially selected antibiotics.
  • A weakened body needs vitamins and mineral supplements.
  • With diarrhea and vomiting, the tissues suffer from dehydration, so the dog should be given enough fresh and clean water. While the animal is weakened, it is prescribed droppers with electrolytes and other solutions, including for the removal of intoxication.
  • The appointment of symptomatic drugs. Most often, these are antiemetics, medications for diarrhea, antispasmodics, painkillers, hemostatic medications, and sorbents for removing toxins.
  • A sick dog is assigned a special diet.

Treatment and the composition of drugs in it is chosen by the veterinarian. The task of dog owners is to ensure that they follow the doctor’s instructions exactly.

Basically, the disease manifests itself in two forms — respiratory and intestinal. In most situations, the risk of death is low if an adult and healthy animal becomes ill. The danger increases when it comes to puppies, especially newborns, weakened or old, sick.

Coronavirus also poses a fatal risk if it “combines” with other infections, such as parvovirus.

The animal that has been ill remains a carrier for the rest of its life. Owners need to remember that this type of infection is not transmitted from a furry pet to people in any way, but it can infect another dog or cat.


Therefore, if there are other Pets in the house, they must be vaccinated and isolated from contact with the carrier until they fully develop immunity. The veterinarian will tell you the period of overexposure.

What to do at home

When an animal is discharged from the hospital, it needs to provide basic comfortable conditions for staying at home:

  • A quiet, warm and peaceful place to sleep.
  • Attention and love of the owners.
  • Dogs are protected from visits by small children and contact with Pets.
  • The dog should have a warm soft bedding, always clean water.
  • Hygiene plays a big role in recovery, as a weakened body can not fully resist any infection.
  • The dog must be protected from drafts, cold floors, and direct sunlight.
  • A sick animal is provided with proper nutrition. In the presence of enteritis, the diet plays a huge role, since the speed of recovery of the dog depends on its choice. Owners should discuss this issue with the attending veterinarian and strictly follow their advice and requirements. Food should be sparing and processed, but at the same time nutritious, in order to restore the strength of a weakened patient.

If the dog is provided with good treatment, care and nutrition, then even in difficult cases there is a chance for a full recovery and return to normal life.

Possible complications

With the rapid development of the disease, it is not always possible to save the dog. Severe dehydration leads to irreversible disorders of the functioning of a number of organs, especially the cardiovascular system. The animal suffers from respiratory disorders and heart weakness, the heartbeat becomes rare and weak, and death occurs.

Prevention measures

The most effective and only effective remedy is vaccination. The following types of vaccines are used against coronavirus:

  • Duramune Max 5-CvK/4L (Duramune Max 5-CvK/4L).
  • Vanguard Plus 5/L (Vanguard Plus 5/L).
  • Biocan K (Biocan C) and some others.

Timely vaccination can protect the dog from the most dangerous manifestations of coronavirus and prevent disease and death.