Coronavirus in Dogs
July 13, 2021
Canine coronavirus is a highly contagious intestinal disease. By itself coronavirus is a mild infection and seldom lethal, but put it with any other condition, parasite or pathogen and it quickly becomes fatal. Coronavirus causes mild signs in puppies over 10 weeks, usually self-limiting diarrhea. However, for puppies under 10 weeks major issues can arise, including death.
Canine Coronavirus Symptoms
Coronavirus causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs of all ages, but it is seen most often and most significantly in young and nursing puppies. Adult dogs generally have few issues besides diarrhea, but in puppies dehydration and vomiting are common. Coronavirus can look exactly like parvo or be quite mild. The difference is coronavirus puppies drink and usually keep fluids down, while parvo puppies won’t drink.
Coronavirus Treatment for Dogs
As in all cases of puppy diarrhea, preventing dehydration is key. Using Breeder’s Edge®Puppy Lyte in the water works well when coronavirus is present as corona puppies drink and hold water down. To be sure parasites do not complicate the issue, we put the puppy on Safeguard for five days. I recommend Safeguard since it is very soothing to the gut.
Canine Coronavirus Vaccine
Since most fatal cases are seen in puppies under 10 weeks of age the key to long term prevention is increasing maternal antibodies in mom’s colostrum. In short, mom gives immunity to the puppy in the colostrum; the virus goes away until after the critical 10 week age and the puppy stays healthy. It’s important to use a vaccine with coronavirus when you vaccinate your moms once a year. This will keep colostrum immunity up. Both the Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPv+Cv 6-way shot for dogs or the Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPvL2+Cv 8-way dog vaccine add “Non-Core” disease protection against Corona.
Once you vaccinate mom to take corona out of the equation you can then treat the next issue present. Evaluate your parasite control timing and, since there is always a complication present with coronavirus, be sure parasites are being removed appropriately.
It is critical to get mom to milk on day one, even C-section moms. Manage milking with Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Momma™ before birth to be sure adequate colostrum is present. Milking the first day is the key to controlling many puppy issues.
Coronavirus is a self-limiting disease that complicates other diseases present. Remember, corona plus anything else (virus/bacterium/parasites) causes major issue. In your kennel, if you have a corona diagnosis, including coronavirus in moms, vaccination is the only way to keep young and nursing puppies healthy. We don’t vaccinate mom to protect mom, we vaccinate mom to protect puppies until we can get them raised effectively! Giving the coronavirus vaccine once a year in reproducing moms will get that done.
If you need help or have more questions on canine coronavirus, call us at 800.786.4751.
Last updated by Marty Greer, DVM.
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Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.