What is Equine Coronavirus?
Equine coronavirus (ECov) is a highly contagious virus of foals and adult horses. ECov can cause gastrointestinal disease in horses with clinical signs of fever, depression, diarrhea and colic. ECoV is spread by fecal contamination from horse to horse or from contact with items contaminated with feces.
Clinical Signs: The clinical signs of Equine Coronavirus include the following:
- Fever up to 105 degrees
- Lack of appetite
- Laying down frequently
- Low white blood cell count
Complications can occur in rare cases:
- Protein loss
- Neurologic signs (lethargy, depression, loss of body control) secondary to an excess of ammonia in the system
- Recumbency (inability to stand)
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is made by a veterinarian based on presence of clinical signs compatible with ECoV infection, the exclusion of other infectious agents, and the detection of ECoV in feces using PCR.
Treatment: The primary treatment for Equine Coronavirus (ECoV) is supportive care of clinical signs. Severe cases may require hospitalization for IV fluid treatment or treatment for secondary infections.
Prevention: Biosecurity measures and isolation should be implemented in horses that have or are suspected to have ECoV.