Coronaviruses affect a range of animals, including horses

The coronavirus which has infected people around the globe may be dominating headlines, but related infections among livestock, including horses, have been reported for years.

Coronavirus infections are well known to livestock and poultry producers. Infections are also reported in horses, although the Equine Disease Control Center in the United States describes their frequency as low.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the common cold.Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives.

Equine Coronavirus is spread when feces from an infected horse is ingested by another horse, either directly in a pasture or via contaminated objects such as stalls, manure forks or the like.

Its incubation period is 2 to 4 days.

Equine Coronavirus (ECoV) is usually a mild infection, but death can occur in complicated cases, according to the Equine Disease Control Center. Signs include fever, lack of appetite, depression, colic, laying down frequently, diarrhea in some cases, and a low white blood cell count.

The prognosis is usually good. Indeed, most infected animals will not even show clinical signs. Complications in rare cases include protein loss, dehydration, neurologic signs, recumbency that can progress to an inability to stand, and death.Supportive care is the primary treatment, with intravenous fluids given in more severe cases.