Coronavirus has now infected more than 60,000 people worldwide, but it is not only humans who have to worry. Australia’s Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) veterinarians have tested several greyhounds suffering with gastroenteritis, and found some are carrying a canine-version of coronavirus.
The disease is known as Canine Enteric Coronavirus, but it is not linked to the current human outbreak.
All of the racing dogs which were tested in Queensland, Australia, and all were found to be carrying the canine coronavirus.
Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said: “Greyhounds are presenting with mild, transient (2-3 days) lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, associated dehydration and a fever may or may not be present.
“Canine Coronavirus is a common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting and is highly contagious between dogs.
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“There is no specific treatment for Canine Coronavirus, however supportive care is very important and greyhound racing participants should seek immediate veterinary advice for affected dogs.
QRIC Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Director Dr Martin Lenz has confirmed a vaccine is available for the canine coronavirus, which is much less severe than the human version of coronavirus.
Dr Lenz said: “The vaccine will aid in the prevention of the disease but does not stop infection or limit shedding of the virus but maybe recommended for puppies and breeding kennels.
“The vaccination of dogs should be discussed with your veterinarian.
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“I would urge all participants to apply strict personal hygiene and biosecurity practices to help limit the spread of this virus.
“This includes frequent hand washing, isolating sick dogs, wearing gloves and protective clothing, cleaning and disinfecting all areas and equipment including transport vehicles, monitoring the health of all dogs and limiting and quarantining new arrivals.
“Dogs with vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy or a temperature above 39.5C should be isolated immediately.
“It is important that all those in contact with this virus that there is the potential for the virus to be transmitted on clothing and equipment and they should take precautions when handling both healthy and sick dogs within the kennel.”
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