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What is equine coronavirus (ECoV)?
The ECoV is a species-specific member of the coronavirus family, once a horse ingests ECoV, the virus appears to travel to the small intestine, where it attaches to specific receptors on intestinal cells.From there, the virus particle fuses with the host’s cell and replicates. Loss of epithelial cells results in malabsorption and maldigestion of nutrients and acute diarrhea.
Coronavirus is spread when feces from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission). The virus can also be transmitted when horses make oral contact with surfaces or objects that are contaminated with infected feces. Stalls, muck forks, manure spreaders, thermometers, hands, and clothing are common fomites (objects or materials that carry infection). Coronavirus is most commonly diagnosed in the winter months.
The incubation period is 2-4 days and infected horses can shed ECoV up to 14 days.
Diagnosis is made by a veterinarian submitting samples for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests of a fecal sample.
Prognosis & Treatment
Horses that do develop clinical signs most often respond to basic supportive care, usually involving fluids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as phenylbutazone or flunixin meglumine. It’s uncommon for horses to die from the disease.
General Biosecurity Tips
Any horse with a fever and no evidence of respiratory illness may have ECoV and feces may be infected.
3% chlorine bleach solution formula: Add 3 gallons of bleach to 2 gallons of water, mix thoroughly.
Please feel free to contact the Starwood Equine office with any questions or concerns
(650) 275-3091 | INFO@STARWOODEQUINE.COM
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