Canine Respiratory Coronavirus: A Naturally Occurring Model of COVID-19?

Vet Pathol. 2020 Jul;57(4):467-471. doi: 10.1177/0300985820926485. Epub 2020 May 5.


Discovered in 2003 at the Royal Veterinary College, London, canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) is a betacoronavirus of dogs and major cause of canine infectious respiratory disease complex. Generally causing mild clinical signs of persistent cough and nasal discharge, the virus is highly infectious and is most prevalent in rehoming shelters worldwide where dogs are often closely housed and infections endemic. As the world grapples with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community is searching for a greater understanding of a novel virus infecting humans. Similar to other betacoronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 appears to have crossed the species barrier, most likely from bats, clearly reinforcing the One Health concept. Veterinary pathologists are familiar with coronavirus infections in animals, and now more than ever this knowledge and understanding, based on many years of veterinary research, could provide valuable answers for our medical colleagues. Here I review the early research on CRCoV where seroprevalence, early immune response, and pathogenesis are some of the same key questions being asked by scientists globally during the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; animal models of human disease; betacoronavirus; canine respiratory coronavirus; dogs; emerging infectious diseases; lung; one health; pathogenesis; tracheal cultures; transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Betacoronavirus* / classification
  • Betacoronavirus* / growth & development
  • Betacoronavirus* / immunology
  • Chiroptera / virology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Coronavirus OC43, Human / classification
  • Coronavirus, Bovine / classification
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / virology*
  • Dogs
  • Prevalence
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Viral