What is Coronavirus & Can My Dog Get It?

Recently, you’ve probably heard in the news that coronavirus is a problem in China, and it’s spreading. It has made its way to the United States, and you may be concerned not only about your human family but your pets, too. Important questions we’ve received include: “Is my dog able to catch coronavirus?” and “Can I give my dog coronavirus?”

The short answers is yes to both, however, it’s much more complicated than that. Coronavirus does not usually affect healthy adult dogs. There are two types of the virus: a gastrointestinal form and a respiratory form. Typically, puppies are more vulnerable to the gastrointestinal form of the disease. The virus is very contagious, but usually not deadly. Symptoms of the gastrointestinal form of the virus include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and fever. For the respiratory form, dogs may experience coughing, sneezing, and fever (similar to the flu virus).

What Causes Coronavirus in Dogs?

The leading cause of coronavirus in dogs is from the stress put on the immune system in an overcrowded situation. Generally, in these situations, other viruses such as parainfluenza, canine flu, or Bordetella overwhelm the immune system first. The stressed animal then becomes infected with coronavirus secondarily. Animal shelters are the most likely places to acquire the virus. If you adopt a puppy that is coughing, isolate it until you see your veterinarian!

Are There Ways to Prevent It?

Yes, there are ways to prevent coronavirus in dogs. At Animal Care Hospital, we vaccinate ALL puppies against the gastrointestinal form of the disease. However, there is currently no vaccine for the respiratory form of the virus and no specific treatment. Treatment consists of supportive care until your pet gets better on their own.

The best defense against both types of the virus is to avoid putting stress on your pet and avoid contact with many animals. Having your dog current on vaccinations for Bordetella (kennel cough), parainfluenza, and adenovirus is also very important.

Keep in mind that most discount vaccine facilities do not vaccinate for coronavirus at all. If you have any concerns about your pet, please call us!

As always, thank you for allowing us to care for your furry family!

Dr. Guidry & Staff

Animal Care Hospital