Infection in Animals

Coronaviruses have been recognized as causing pathological conditions in veterinary medicine since the 1930s. They infect a range of animals including swine, cattle, horses, camels, cats, dogs, rodents, birds and bats. The majority of animal related coronaviruses infect the intestinal tract and are transmitted by a fecal-oral route.

Farm animals

Coronaviruses infect domesticated birds. The virus is of concern to the poultry industry because of the high mortality from infection, its rapid spread, and its effect on production. The virus affects both meat production and egg production and causes substantial economic loss. In chickens, infectious bronchitis virus targets not only the respiratory tract but also the urogenital tract. The virus can spread to different organs throughout the chicken.

Coronaviruses also affect other branches of animal husbandry such as pig farming and the cattle raising. Swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV), which is related to bat coronavirus HKU2, causes diarrhea in pigs.

Domestic pets

Coronaviruses infect domestic pets such as cats, dogs, and ferrets. There are two forms of feline coronavirus which are both members of the species Alphacoronavirus 1. Feline enteric coronavirus is a pathogen of minor clinical significance, but spontaneous mutation of this virus can result in feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a disease with high mortality.

Laboratory animals

Coronaviruses infect laboratory animals. Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), which is a member of the species Murine coronavirus, causes an epidemic murine illness with high mortality, especially among colonies of laboratory mice.

Rabbit enteric coronavirus causes acute gastrointestinal disease and diarrhea in young European rabbits. Mortality rates are high.


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