Canine coronavirus outbreak infects Queensland greyhounds

QLD greyhound racing

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) veterinarians have this week tested several greyhounds suffering from gastroenteritis.

Results have confirmed all dogs to be infected with Canine Enteric Coronavirus with some dogs also testing positive for a mixed or secondary infection with Clostridium perfringens. All dogs were negative for Parvovirus.

Gastroenteritis caused by Canine Coronavirus is in not related to the current ‘novel coronavirus’ outbreak causing respiratory illness in people.

Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said testing confirmed the presence of a current Canine Coronavirus outbreak in greyhounds in the South East of Queensland.

“Greyhounds are presenting with mild, transient (2-3 days) lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, associated dehydration and a fever may or may not be present,” he said.

“Canine Coronavirus is a common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting and is highly contagious between dogs. Unlike with parvovirus, the mortality rate is low with Canine Coronavirus. Puppies are the most susceptible to this disease.

“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 said a vaccine is available as a combination vaccine (Protech C2i) against Leptospirosis and Canine Coronavirus.

“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,” Dr Lenz said.

“The vaccination of dogs should be discussed with your veterinarian.

“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 39.5◦C 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.”

All owners and trainers should contact QRIC Stewards if any of any their greyhounds are affected with the virus.

QRIC ave reiterated that the health of all greyhounds must be checked before bringing them to race or trial and if they are ill they must be scratched from racing.

On Tuesday QRIC stewards implemented procedures to try to arrest the spread of the outbreak during greyhound race meetings.

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