[Health Story for Companion Animals] Dogs’ Coronavirus Infection and COVID-19
[Health Story for Companion Animals] Dogs’ Coronavirus Infection and COVID-19
  • 김동인 부산동물병원 다솜동물메디컬센터 내과원장|정리·이원국 기자|번역·김성혜 인턴기자 (21guk@k-health.com)
  • 승인 2020.05.15 10:29
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Busan Dasom Animal Medical Center Chief Physician
Busan Dasom Animal Medical Center, Kim Dong-In Chief Veterinarian

The world fell into a panic due to COVID-19. Although the situation has not yet settled down, I believe Korea is handling it well by minimizing damage with advanced diagnostic technology and active response. Until the situation improves, all pet owners should follow the precautionary rules in hopes of no damage.

Coronavirus is a required inoculation you usually hear about when adopting a dog. It occurs by the canine coronavirus (CCV or CCoV) and shows mild or no symptoms for full-grown dogs; however, for puppies, it can cause vomiting and yellow-green or orange diarrhea, and even worse, serious contact enteritis.

It can be resolved on its own between 7 to 10 days with mild diarrhea, but parvovirus (CPV-2) enteritis may follow, indicating fatal progress. Viruses invade through the mouth, incubate for one to three days, and are released through feces up to a maximum of two weeks after infection.

Most surfactants and disinfectants in stores can inactivate coronavirus, and vaccines are significant for strengthening immunity; however, the problem usually lies when infected before having a vaccine. Therefore, if young puppies show symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite, lethargy, depression, high fever, and abnormal stool odor, then a simple kit test for the infection can be conducted at a veterinary hospital. Except for cases of severe infections in puppies, they can generally recover through several days of allopathic medicine.

If so, what are the differences between CCoV and the rampant COVID-19? Here is a summary based on the recommendations for pets by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

Coronavirus belongs to Coronaviridae. Among which, δ- and β- coronaviruses generally infect mammals while γ- and δ- coronaviruses infect birds and fish. As explained above, canine coronavirus (CCoV) and feline coronavirus (FCov, causes feline infectious peritonitis: FIP) are both α- coronavirus.

The raging disease called COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) belongs to β- coronavirus, and only six types of coronavirus were known to infect humans and cause respiratory diseases before the emergence of this virus. These six include SARS-CoV (2002/2003) and MERS-CoV (2012), etc. and current SARS-CoV-2 is genetically related to SARS-CoV, which is a bat-originated β-coronavirus.

To sum up, both canine coronavirus and feline coronavirus are α- coronavirus, and the current COVID-19 that causes respiratory disease in humans is β- coronavirus.

As of March 10, 2020, whether the virus infection or environmental pollution affected the dogs tested mildly positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong has not yet revealed. There is still no evidence of companion animals being infected with COVID-19, and so cannot be a source of infection in humans.

As an answer to many inquiries from families with pets that annually receive coronavirus inoculation, be aware that the canine coronavirus vaccine currently in use around the world is intended to defend against enteritis by α- coronavirus and is unapproved to use for preventing respiratory infections.

Everyone is going through a difficult chapter. In times like this, fake news also inundates. At this point, when everything is still unclear, groundless news needs to be filtered out and viewed. The wisdom of accepting proven advice and verified news from experts is essential as well. Pet owners can only hope and hope to escape the situation well by taking all measures to prevent the infection, avoiding crowded places, washing hands before and after contact with pets, and wearing masks.

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