Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Canine coronavirus

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Melissa Kennedy




  • Family: Coronaviridae.
  • Genus: Coronavirus.
  • Group 1 coronavirus: Type 1 canine coronavirus and Type II canine coronavirus.
  • Group 2 coronavirus: Canine respiratory coronavirus.


  • L: corona - crown: refers to the large club-shaped glycoprotein peplomers in the envelope of the virus.

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Clinical Effects



  • Can replicate in dogs without clinical signs.
  • Dogs can shed for weeks or months post-infection.


  • Inapparent or persistent infections occur → virus maintenance.


  • Fecal-oral.
  • Ingestion of virus contaminated material.
  • Highly contagious.

Pathological effects

  • Re-infection common; pre-existing immunity does not give good protection.
  • Incubation period 1-4 days.
  • Infects cells of the duodenum and progresses through the small intestine.
  • Spreads to mesenteric lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
  • Present in the feces within 1-2 days of clinical disease.
  • Can act synergistically with other agents.
  • Certain strains can spread systemically and cause severe disease especially in puppies; isolated from lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys.


Control via chemotherapies

  • Treat dehydration and supply electrolytes.

Control via environment

  • Attention to hygiene.
  • Avoid poor management conditions, eg overcrowding or stress.
  • Isolate infected individuals.


  • Inactivated vaccines available in UK.
  • Inactivated and live attenuated vaccines available mainland Europe and USA (2 doses 3 weeks apart and annual boosters).


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Erles K & Brownlie J (2008) Canine respiratory coronavirus: an emerging pathogen in the canine infectious respiratory disease complex. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 38 (4), 815-825, viii PubMed.
  • Buonavoglia C, Decaro N, Martella V et al (2006) Canine coronavirus highly pathogenic for dogs. Emerging Infectious Diseases 12 (3), 492-494 PubMed.
  • Erles K, Toomey C, Brooks H W et al (2003) Detection of a group 2 coronavirus in dogs with canine infectious respiratory disease. Virology 310 (2), 216-223 PubMed.
  • Tennant B J, Gaskell R M & Gaskell C J (1994) Studies on the survival of canine coronavirus under different environmental conditions. Vet Microbiol 42 (2-3), 255-259 PubMed.
  • Tennant B J, Gaskell R M, Jones R C et al (1993) Studies on the epizootiology of canine coronavirus. Vet Rec 132 (1), 7-11 PubMed.
  • McArdle F, Bennett M, Gaskell R M et al (1992) Induction and enhancement of feline infectious peritonitis by canine coronavirus. Am J Vet Res 53 (9), 1500-1506 PubMed.
  • Tennant B J, Gaskell R M, Jones R C et al (1991) Prevalence of antibodies to four major canine viral diseases in dogs in a Liverpool hospital population. JSAP 32 (4), 175-179 VetMedResource.