Coronavirus in DogsNote: If you are looking for information regarding COVID-19 in pets, please check out our blog post Coronavirus in Humans vs. Dogs and Cats written by Dr. Greer, DVM.
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 SymptomsCoronavirus 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 DogsAs in all cases of puppy diarrhea, preventing dehydration is key. Using Re-Sorb® 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 VaccineSince 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.
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 Breeders' Edge® Oxy Momma before birth to be sure adequate colostrum is present. Milking the first day is the key to controlling many puppy issues.
SummaryCoronavirus 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.
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Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.