Coronaviruses belong to the, Coronaviridae family of RNA viruses that cause intestinal and respiratory illness in humans, as well as domestic animals such as: chickens, dogs, cats, pigs, horses, camels and cattle. Equine Coronaviruses (ECoV) can spread throughout the body, but many strains attack epithelial cells located in the respiratory tract or the intestinal wall, resulting in localized infections. When located in the intestine, the viruses damages the villi (fingerlike projections that line the tract), and as a result causes malabsorption and diarrhea 1. ECoV spreads from horse to horse, and because infected animals shed the virus in their manure, it is assumed that it spreads via the fecal-to-oral route when a horse consumes feed or water contaminated with the virus. For now, the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus is to keep sick horses isolated. Patients infected with ECoV have unspecific clinical signs such as fever, lethargy, and anorexia. Currently, there is no vaccine available for ECoV, the only treatment available is supportive care to manage the signs until recovery. ECoV can be diagnosed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that confirms the presence of a pathogen by identifying nucleic acids. Currently, PCR detection of the virus in feces is the only diagnostic method available. This Fluxergy ECoV PCR assay has been designed to target a conserved region of this virus and allow for rapid detection of the pathogen within an hour of sample collection.
- Fielding CL, Higgins JK, Higgins JC, et al. Disease associated with Equine Coronavirus Infection and High Case Fatality Rate. J Vet Intern Med. 2015; 29:307-310
- Stewart, A. J. (2016). Coronavirus in Horses. Retrieved from Merck Veterinary Manual.