Coronavirus in Dogs

A sick dog lies on a couch

As the name implies, coronavirus is caused by a virus. A dog can get it when he comes in contact with the feces of an infected dog. Common symptoms include fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite. It typically runs its course and then the patient is fine. In extreme cases, a veterinarian will give a dog fluids and antibiotics to manage the clinical signs and help prevent secondary infections.


Coronavirus infection is a highly contagious infection of dogs that primarily attacks the intestinal tract. The disease is spread from dog to dog through contact with feces. After coronavirus has been transmitted to a dog, the incubation (development) period of the disease can be as short as one to four days.

Symptoms and Identification

Coronavirus infections are typically mild and self-limiting (resolving without treatment), and infected dogs may have several days of diarrhea that resolves without treatment. Other signs may include:

Coronavirus infection is typically diagnosed based on clinical signs, although definitive laboratory testing is available. Because the clinical signs can be similar to those of more serious diseases (such as intestinal parasitism, parvovirus infection, and canine distemper virus), your veterinarian may recommend testing to rule out other illnesses.

Affected Breeds

Coronavirus is an equal opportunity offender. All dog breeds are equally susceptible.


Treatment is typically limited to supportive care, such as fluid therapy, rest, and antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections. If vomiting or diarrhea is severe, medications may be prescribed to manage these symptoms in particular.


Coronavirus is spread through contact with fecal material from infected dogs, so separating sick dogs from healthy ones will help reduce disease spread. Coronavirus can be killed by many types of household disinfectants (including diluted bleach solution), so cleaning contaminated areas and bedding can also help reduce the spread of this infection.

A vaccine is available to prevent canine coronavirus infection. Coronavirus vaccine is not a core vaccine, but it may sometimes be included in combination vaccines for other, more serious diseases, such as infections with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus type 2.

This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.

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