Viral Disease - Canine Coronavirus


Canine coronavirus (CCV) causes contagious enteritis of variable severity (rarely fatal) in young dogs.

The true significance of this pathogen in juvenile diarrhea is not fully known, but it may contribute to the morbidity and mortality of other infectious enteropathies, such as canine parvovirus (CPV).

Cause and Pathophysiology

CCV, a single-stranded (SS) ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus of the family Corona viridae, is closely related to feline coronavirus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus of pigs.

CCV is highly contagious via fecal-oral transmission.

Fecal shedding results in environmental contamination, an important route of exposure.

CCV infects any age group, but clinical disease is usually seen only in very young puppies.

After ingestion, the virus localizes in the villus tips of the small intestines, where it replicates and results in villous atrophy and crypt cell hyperplasia.

Clinical Signs


  • » Infected, seronegative adult dogs usually asymptomatic
  • » Possibly mild gastrointestinal (GI) signs


  • » Acute onset of mild to severe, bloody diarrhea in neonatal and very young puppies
  • » Lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, dehydration
  • » Typically self-limiting, but possibly life-threatening


Suspicious signalment, history, and clinical presentation

Clinical pathology: findings nonspecific, leukopenia not recognized

CCV-specific testing

  • » Virus identification is rarely necessary or indicated.
  • » Fourfold rise in immunoglobulin (Ig) G titer on paired serum samples is supportive, but rarely performed.
  • » Direct viral detection may be performed on feces.

Electron microscopy (EM)

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

Intestinal tissue fluorescent antibody (FA) testing

Viral detection may also be done with intestinal tissue immunohistochemistry.

CCV can also be detected in the feces of clinically healthy dogs

Differential Diagnosis

Canine parvovirus

Parasites, bacterial enteritis

Canine distemper virus (CDV), canine herpesvirus (CHV)

Toxins, foreign bodies, intussusception, or metabolic diseases


Supportive care may be instituted, although many dogs require no therapy.

Monitoring and Prevention

The need for routine CCV vaccination is questionable, although inactivated and modified live virus (MLV) vaccines are available for at-risk populations.

Avoid exposure of young puppies to potentially contaminated environments.

CCV is inactivated by various disinfectants (Table 112-1).

Viral shedding may occur for up to 6 months post infection.

Recently Discussed Topics

Blog Archive