Everyone knows that COVID-19 devastated the entire globe in 2020; however, now experts claim that another variety of coronavirus was responsible for an outbreak of sickness among dogs in the United Kingdom. Reports at the time from both pet owners and veterinarians indicated the dogs were getting sick and vomiting. Now, research indicates that this sweeping sickness affecting dogs in the UK last year was the result of another strain of coronavirus – and was most likely a variant of canine enteric coronavirus (CeCoV).

Humans cannot catch this canine enteric coronavirus. This virus is also different from the one that infected millions of people across the world in 2020 and continues to do so in 2021. The virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic is known as SARS-CoV-2.

After many pet owners shared complaints that their dogs had mysteriously gotten sick in 2020, the University of Liverpool and the University of Lancaster teamed up to analyze the data. They sent 1,258 questionnaires to vets and pet owners and obtained more than 70 samples from animals.

Fortunately, vets can administer vaccines to protect dogs from this strain of the coronavirus. Vaccinations can prevent the spread of many of these harmful canine pathogens. However, dog owners and vets were shocked by the rise of illness in pets throughout 2020.

Danielle Greenberg, a vet in the North West of England and an author of the study, saw about forty cases of dogs that are now thought to be connected to this outbreak of coronavirus among British pets. She was able to identify dozens of cases of severe canine vomiting throughout the country due to her investigative approach.

Data shows that less than one percent of dogs died from the coronavirus. Most canines recovered from the illness within a week.

The study reported: “In January 2020, prolific vomiting among dogs was sporadically reported in the United Kingdom. Electronic health records from a nationwide sentinel network of veterinary practices confirmed a significant increase in dogs with signs of gastroenteric disease. Male dogs and dogs living with other vomiting dogs were more likely to be affected. Diet and vaccination status were not associated with the disease; however, a canine enteric coronavirus was significantly associated with illness. The system we describe potentially fills a gap in surveillance in neglected populations and could provide a blueprint for other countries.”

It continued, “The first indication of an outbreak came from time-series analyses of syndromic data. Such syndromic surveillance is increasingly being used to monitor the impact of national events like natural disasters and bioterrorism on human population health, as well as changes in gastroenteric and influenza-like illness.”

In the end, the researchers were able to draw the following conclusions from the data.

“In conclusion, this multidisciplinary approach enabled a rapid response to a newly described outbreak of canine gastroenteritis and identified a CeCoV as a potential cause,” the researchers write in the study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. “Previous CeCoV seasonality suggests further outbreaks may occur.”

What do you think about this canine coronavirus outbreak across the island nation of Britain?

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