In the midst of a pandemic, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s also a coronavirus that can infect dogs. However, while COVID-19 is sweeping through humans, the version of coronavirus that usually affects dogs doesn’t cause disease unless your dog’s immune system is compromised. In fact, in most cases canine coronavirus isn’t even detectable—and even if your dog does contract this gastrointestinal illness, they’ll likely recover on their own with few (if any) symptoms. Most importantly, at this point there are no confirmed cases of transmission between animals and humans or between pets and people. Here’s what you need to know about canine coronavirus in dogs:
Coronavirus has been around for years.
Coronavirus is a common virus. It’s been around for years. It isn’t a new virus and it isn’t dangerous. It is not the same as the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus, which was linked to an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in humans.
Canine coronavirus is benign in most dogs.
Coronavirus is a common cause of upper respiratory infections in dogs, though it can also affect cats and ferrets. In most cases, the viruses are transmitted from dogs to each other via direct or indirect contact with infected animals—such as at the dog park or after sharing bowls. Here’s what you need to know about canine coronavirus:
- Canine coronaviruses are spread by direct contact with infected animals
- Most cases are not serious
- Coronavirus does not cause disease in all dogs
It’s usually transmitted via fecal exposure.
Coronavirus can be transmitted via fecal-oral transmission, which means that an infected dog’s feces becomes contaminated and then another dog or human comes into contact with that feces. Exposure can also occur through contact with other animals and humans as well as contaminated surfaces, food, water and objects (such as toys).
Vaccines are available to fight the disease.
As with other viruses, there are vaccines available to fight coronavirus in dogs. However, since the respiratory disease is highly contagious and can spread quickly, it’s important to know how these vaccines work.
Coronavirus vaccines work by introducing a dead virus into your dog’s body so it can build up immunity against the illness. That means that if your dog does come down with coronavirus, the symptoms will be much milder than if he or she hadn’t been vaccinated.
It’s a good idea to vaccinate your dog against coronavirus.
While coronavirus is a relatively rare disease, it’s important to know that your dog can contract the virus. Vaccination is a good idea for all dogs, but especially those who have close contact with other dogs.
It’s also recommended that you vaccinate your dog against coronavirus if they:
- Play frequently in the grass or are exposed to large numbers of other dogs (e.g., at dog parks)
- Have traveled abroad or visit boarding kennels frequently
While it’s nice to know that your dog can’t get COVID-19, it’s also important to keep an eye out for coronavirus in case your dog is infected by another strain of the virus. If you suspect your dog has coronavirus, call the vet right away. They’ll let you know what steps to take next and determine if your pup needs testing for the disease.