jack russell dog sleeping in bed with high fever temperature, ice bag on head, thermometer in mouth, covered by a blanket; canine coronavirus disease CCOV concept

Can dogs get coronavirus?

Dogs (and other pets) cannot develop COVID-19. That means they cannot infect humans with the coronavirus that is currently causing our pandemic. That’s because the term “coronavirus” doesn’t refer to one single virus. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large group of viruses responsible for illnesses ranging from the common cold to the current pandemic-causing COVID-19.

For those who want more information on COVID-19, you can visit the World Health Organization’s website here.

What is CCoV?

However, coronaviruses can still infect our four-legged friends, causing an infection known as canine coronavirus disease (CCoV). This particularly infectious virus invades dogs and then replicates inside the small intestine. Fortunately, this condition is very rarely lethal.

Symptoms

Most often, CCoV causes no symptoms or only mild ones that go unnoticed. When they do show, CCoV symptoms include the following:

  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Loose, orange, foul-smelling stool

Puppies and show dogs are at greater risk for this condition.

Treatments

There is currently no single treatment for CCoV.

Most treatment, though, includes making sure Fido is hydrated and potentially waiting to feed him for a day after his last bout of diarrhea ends. After this 24-hour period, you may start slowly adding more food back to his diet.

If symptoms are severe and your pet becomes dehydrated, take him to the vet. There, he may receive IV fluids to help with his condition.

Will antibiotics help?

If there is a comorbid bacterial infection, then antibiotics may help. Since antibiotics only attack bacteria, though, they will not cure a viral infection like CCoV.

Is there a vaccine?

Yes, there is a vaccine for CCoV. However, it’s important to note that:

  1. Not every dog should receive it
  2. It does not protect humans or dogs against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19; there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19

You should talk to your vet about whether or not your dog should receive the CCoV vaccine.

What is CRCoV?

There’s unfortunately more than one coronavirus that can infect your pooch. Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) can cause respiratory disease (aka, lung disease). Like CCoV, CRCoV cannot hurt humans.

The takeaway: Can dogs get coronavirus and get you sick?

While coronaviruses can infect dogs, SARS-CoV-2—which causes the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19—does not affect dogs. That means your dog cannot catch the current pandemic-causing virus and transfer it to you.

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