Canine respiratory coronavirus

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Canine coronavirus antigen in canine lung tissue[1]

Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) is a group 2 positive-stranded, non-segmented ssRNA coronavirus[2] commonly associated with canine kennel cough worldwide.

Canine respiratory coronavirus is genetically related to bovine coronavirus, and unrelated to canine enteric coronavirus (group 1) associated with diarrhea and systemic illness in dogs[3].

Canine respiratory coronavirus and canine influenza virus (CIV) are commonly found simultaneously in dog population studies[4], and sentinel populations of the virus have been detected in wild dogs[5].

The virus appears to infect the upper respiratory tract preferentially and usually causes acute respiratory infection[6], either alone or with co-infections with other canine respiratory pathogens such as canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpesvirus, canine influenza virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Mycoplasma spp, and Streptococcus zooepidemicus[7][8].

Transmission of the virus is by close contact aerosol dissemination, fomites and handling by humans[9]. It is believed that physiologic and immunological stress, such as on entry to a kennel, could potentially predispose a dog to pathogenic challenge and the development of respiratory disease[10].

Clinically infected dogs present with coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. Severe infections may progress to pneumonia.

Clinical signs usually resolve after 1-2 weeks, depending on whether co-infection with other pathogens is involved.

Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs, coronaviral antibody detection[11] and PCR assay identification[12][13] of viral particles.

Treatment is usually palliative and use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials if febrile pneumonia develops. Quarantine of infected dogs is critical to prevent spread to other dogs.

No vaccine is available for this organism.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Lorusso A et al (2009) Molecular characterization of a canine respiratory coronavirus strain detected in Italy. Virus Res 141(1):96-100
  3. An DJ et al (2010) Genetic analysis of canine group 2 coronavirus in Korean dogs. Vet Microbiol 141(1-2):46-52
  4. An DJ et al (2010) A serological survey of canine respiratory coronavirus and canine influenza virus in Korean dogs. J Vet Med Sci 72(9):1217-1219
  5. Bryan HM et al (2011) Exposure to infectious agents in dogs in remote coastal British Columbia: Possible sentinels of diseases in wildlife and humans. Can J Vet Res 75(1):11-17
  6. Erles K et al (2003) Detection of a group 2 coronavirus in dogs with canine infectious respiratory disease. Virology 310:216–223
  7. Chalker, VJ et al (2003) The association of Streptococcus equisubsp zooepidemicus with canine infectious respiratory disease. Vet Micro 95:149-156
  8. Erles K & Brownlie J (2005) Investigation into the causes of canine infectious respiratory disease: antibody responses to canine respiratory coronavirus and canine herpesvirus in two kennelled dog populations. Arch Virol 150:1493–1504
  9. Ellis JA et al (2005) Detection of coronavirus in cases of tracheobronchitis in dogs: a retrospective study from 1971 to 2003. Can Vet J 46:447–448
  10. Priestnall SL et al (2009) Quantification of mRNA encoding cytokines and chemokines and assessment of ciliary function in canine tracheal epithelium during infection with canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV). Vet Immunol Immunopathol 127(1-2):38-46
  11. Knesl O et al (2009) The seroprevalence of canine respiratory coronavirus and canine influenza virus in dogs in New Zealand. N Z Vet J 57(5):295-298
  12. Mitchell JA et al(2009) Development of a quantitative real-time PCR for the detection of canine respiratory coronavirus. J Virol Methods 155(2):136-142
  13. Hasoksuz M et al (2008) Detection of group 2a coronaviruses with emphasis on bovine and wild ruminant strains. Virus isolation and detection of antibody, antigen, and nucleic acid. Methods Mol Biol 454:43-59