Canine Coronavirus Vaccine

Canine coronavirus is a highly contagious virus spread to dogs by contact with infected feces. This may include sniffing or licking contaminated food, flooring, soil or other infected dogs. Most dogs are exposed to this virus at one point or another in their lives. While the mortality rate is fairly low, puppies and dogs that experience frequent exposure to other dogs, such as show dogs or those boarded in kennels, are at a higher risk of contact and complications. Often, canine coronavirus and parvovirus are simultaneously present. These viruses display identical symptoms and when a dog is infected with both, the risk of mortality is significantly increased. Being infected with coronavirus also makes a dog more susceptible to contracting parvovirus.

Symptoms of Canine Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus causes symptoms which are similar to many other conditions including parvovirus, bacterial infection, dietary indiscretion, and inflammatory bowel disease. Because coronavirus attacks the rapidly growing cells of the intestinal lining, gastrointestinal symptoms may be present. Dogs may show no sign of the virus, but common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. Diarrhea will also be present, sometimes of an odd yellow color, accompanied by bloody mucus and a very foul odor. Due to the severe vomiting and diarrhea accompanying this infection, dehydration is one of the major concerns. Dogs should be encouraged to drink lots of water once vomiting has stopped for at least 24 hours. A bland diet should also be fed in small amounts at that time. 

Canine Coronavirus Vaccine

With the recent debate on possible over-vaccination of dogs, and the importance of vaccinations versus the potential cause for infection and side effects, wondering whether or not your dog should receive a vaccination against canine coronavirus is a valid concern. While this virus is highly infectious and easily spread, by itself it's not usually life-threatening. Of the many vaccines available for dogs today, the canine coronavirus vaccine is considered by many to be one of the least important. According to a complaint filed in 2002 in the state of Texas, dogs over the age of 8 weeks old are not susceptible to diseases related to canine coronavirus. This therefore absolves the need for this vaccination at all. According to this complaint, dogs that have received vaccinations against canine parvovirus, a much more deadly illness, will not develop symptoms of coronavirus, and it is reported that many schools of veterinary medicine do not recommend the coronavirus vaccine. Make your vaccination decisions with this information in mind.

Treatment of Canine Coronavirus

Mild cases of canine coronavirus have a very high treatment success rate with simple remedies consisting of fluid therapy, antibiotics and anti-vomiting medication. If your dog is severly dehydrated, intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalization may be required. Anti-diarrheal and gastrointestinal drugs may also be administered. Isolation from other dogs is highly recommended. Once the dog has recovered enough to eat and drink, other secondary infections, such as worm infestations, can then be treated normally.