U.S. Equine Coronavirus Testing from IDEXX Laboratories
Coronavirus is seen in horses, but owners are concerned this year because of the global attention surrounding human coronavirus.

IDEXX Laboratories provided this chart of positive tests for equine coronavirus from 2019 through late February 2020. Courtesy IDEXX

Because of a report of equine coronavirus in Maricopa County, Arizona, on February 18, we asked IDEXX Laboratories to share with us an overview of equine coronavirus cases tested at their laboratories. The Arizona positive was on a premises with five exposed horses. 

We appreciate IDEXX’s quick response to our request to provide the accompanying chart.

After the positive report of equine coronavirus through the Equine Disease Communication Center, veterinarians in the field noted that they were getting questions from horse owners about equine coronavirus.

Because of that, EquiManagement’s Disease Du Jour podcast—brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health—focused on equine coronavirus with Dr. Nicola Pusterla of the University of California, Davis. Pusterla leads the UC Davis Equine Infectious Disease Research Laboratory.

The 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in humans was thought to have started with exposure to small animals in Wuhan, China. More than 2,700 persons around the world have died during the current outbreak.

Topics covered in EquiManagement’s equine coronavirus podcast:

  • Does equine coronavirus affect humans?
  • What is equine coronavirus?
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

We invite you to download, listen to and rate previous and future episodes of Disease Du Jour on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher or your favorite podcast platform.

You can also find a fact sheet on equine coronavirus designed for horse owner education on the Equine Disease Communication Center website.

Research Report on Equine Coronavirus

You can find a scientific article from Pusterla and colleagues on EquiManagement.com titled Research Indicates When Coronavirus Should Be Suspected.

Takeaways from that article include:

  • Equine coronavirus (ECoV) infection should be suspected and tested for in horses presenting with acute onset of fever, lethargy and anorexia with no respiratory signs.
  • Equine coronavirus infection should be suspected and tested for in horses presenting with acute onset of fever, lethargy and anorexia with no respiratory signs.
  • ECoV infection should be considered in horses presenting with acute onset of fever, especially when nasal discharge is absent as one of the cardinal clinical signs.
  • Fecal transmission.
  • A two-step approach should be considered in which respiratory secretions and feces should be collected from such horses and submitted to a diagnostic laboratory.

Human Coronavirus Outbreak 2020

The following information was obtained from Johns Hopkins on the 2020 human coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a public health emergency.
  • Epicenter in Wuhan, China
  • This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source, but it is now spreading from person to person. The virus has been detected in people throughout China and many other countries, including the United States.It appears that symptoms are showing up in people within days of exposure to the virus.
  • 2019 novel coronavirus causes viral pneumonia, with symptoms including:
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • In rare cases, it can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.

According to the World Health Organization, as of February 27, 2020, a total of 82,292 world-wide confirmed positive cases had been attributed to the virus with more than 2,700 human deaths.

Global distribution of human coronavirus was depicted on this map from the World Health Organization. 

World Health Organization

Check out this article from our sister publication EQUUS on equine coronavirus

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