How to Treat Canine Coronavirus
How to Prevent Canine Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a worldwide virus which can infect dogs, and depending on the strain of virus, causes gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms. There is a vaccine for the coronavirus, but it is not one of the essential vaccinations given to dogs. Learn how to prevent coronavirus so you can keep your dog healthy.
Preventing The Virus In Dogs
Get your dog a vaccine.There is an effective vaccine against canine coronavirus. Because infection is not usually life-threatening, your vet may not consider coronavirus vaccination to be a core or essential vaccination. The need will be assessed on an individual basis.
- The vaccine is usually given on a risk assessment basis. The factors your vet will take into consideration are how many dogs your dog mixes with on a regular basis and the prevalence of coronavirus infection in your area. Your vet will also determine if your dog is in an at risk group because of a health problem or their age.
- The vaccination involves two injections, three weeks apart, and a yearly booster injection. This vaccine can also be combined with other annual shots.
- The vaccine is most often given to dogs that mix with lots of others, such as show dogs, or those with general poor health.
- You might want to consider vaccination for puppies or elderly dogs.
Use a household disinfectant.If one of your dogs has the coronavirus, or you think a kennel, grooming, or other area has been compromised, you can kill the virus with household disinfectants. Try Lysol or diluted bleach solutions.
- The virus can survive in the environment for six months and act as a reservoir of infection for dogs that come into contact with contamination. However, coronavirus is not a hardy virus and is readily destroyed by most household disinfectants
- Strong sunlight and lack of moisture will also help destroy the virus. To reduce the moisture in your home, use a dehumidifier. You should also make sure the area the dog is staying and the bedding remains dry. To increase sunlight, open all curtains and doors to allow the sun to shine inside. Take your dog's bedding outside and place in the sun for a few hours.
Pick up after your dog.When you take your dog into public areas, make sure to pick up after him when he goes to the bathroom. This not only helps reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, but also any other disease that is transmitted through feces.
- Make sure to pick up your dog’s feces as soon as he goes to the bathroom. Diseases can be transmitted from feces to the soil and live there for months afterwards. The longer you leave feces on the ground, the more likely it will contaminate the soil, and therefore, other dogs.
- Wash your hands after handling your dog's feces or cleaning up urine. The virus can be transmitted through waste, so if your dog is shedding the virus still after he's been treating, you may reinfect him.
Take caution where you exercise your dog.Since the coronavirus can be transmitted through bodily fluids, be careful where you take your dog to exercise. Don’t walk or exercise your dog in an area heavily contaminated with dog feces, especially diarrhea.
- Be mindful of your dog on public trails, parks, or in dog parks. Keep him away from dog feces to reduce the risk of picking up infection.
Wash your hands before handling your puppy.Infected dogs can shed the virus for months after contracting and getting over coronavirus. Even if a dog is well, you can't rule out it being a health risk to your pet. If you have been handling someone else’s dog, wash your hands after touching it and before handling your puppy.
- If your dog has had the coronavirus in the last few months, make sure to wash your hands before and after touching your dog or touching his water or food. This helps reduce the risk of accidentally transmitting any shedding virus.
Avoid letting your dog interact with other dogs if he’s sick.Since coronavirus can be spread through respiratory aerosols, like coughs and sneezes, you shouldn’t take your sick dog around other dogs. Keep him at home until he is well again so you prevent spreading the infection.
Learn how to treat the virus.Most dogs will get over the coronavirus on their own without any medical treatment. If your dog gets the coronavirus, watch him closely. Make sure to keep him hydrated with plenty of fluids since dehydration from diarrhea or vomiting is one of the common side effects of the condition. Especially keep an eye on this condition if your dog is a puppy.
- If the symptoms are severe, or your dog gets dehydrated, you should take him to the vet. The vet can prescribe medication for secondary conditions that may accompany the coronavirus.
Know that the coronavirus isn’t a fatal condition.In a dog that is in otherwise good health, coronavirus is more of an inconvenience than a life-threatening condition. Most dogs get symptoms, like being feverish and having diarrhea, for a few days, and then recover.
- As with most infections, if the patient has an underlying health condition which weakens her immune system, then coronavirus could be more dangerous because the dog is less able to fight off infection and complications are more likely.
- Younger and older dogs are more vulnerable to infection and complications because their immune systems are weaker. Speak to your vet about whether there have been coronavirus outbreaks in the area and whether a vaccination is advisable or not.
Learn how the coronavirus is spread.The virus is highly infectious and easily passed between dogs. Most commonly, it is contracted through contact with infected feces from diarrhea or respiratory secretions, such as sneezing or coughing.
- Most dogs contract the coronavirus in places where they interact with other dogs or come into contact with dog feces, like in a kennel, groomers, dog park, breeders, or dog shows.
Be aware of the symptoms.There are two types of coronavirus. Type 1 causes gastrointestinal signs, and Type 2 causes respiratory signs. The incubation period is one to four days. Typically, the dog will feel bad for several days and then start to recover.
- To help make sure your dog doesn’t get the virus, you should know what symptoms to look for. Symptoms of the coronavirus infection include a fever, reduced appetite, lack of energy, sickness, diarrhea, or a dry hacking cough.
- These are quite general signs so your vet will have you monitor the dog closely for signs of deterioration, in case the infection is actually something more serious such as parvovirus or distemper.
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