Canine coronavirus, of the Coronaviridae family, is a virus that causes a highly contagious intestinal disease in dogs. It was discovered in 1971 in Germany during an outbreak in sentry dogs. It replicates in the villi of the small intestine.
Intestinal disease can be related to virus-induced apoptosis of cells. Originally the virus was thought to be very severe but is now considered to be very mild. It can, however, be serious if the dog is also infected with canine parvovirus. Coronavirus makes intestinal cells more susceptible to parvo and when combined the viruses make infection much more serious than when by themselves.
Incubation is one to three days and the disease is highly contagious with spread happening through the feces of infected dogs. Normally the virus can be caught six to nine days after infection but in rare causes can be spread up to six months after infection. Diarrhea, vomiting, and anorexia are all symptoms. Usually treatment is needed for the diarrhea but in more severe causes intravenous fluids are needed for dehydration. Disinfectants destroy the virus and there is a vaccine available for puppies.
A second type of canine coronavirus has been found that causes respiratory disease in dogs. Canine Respiratory Coronavirus is similar to bovine and human coronaviruses and was first isolated in the United Kingdom in 2003.