Beta Coronavirus

Monday, April 23, 2018

(Multistate) Beta coronavirus continues to be detected in equine fecal samples via PCR at the AHDC. The positive cases from January 1, 2018 through April 20, 2018 were examined to better characterize the clinical signs that practitioners are currently observing in the field. During this time, our laboratory detected 59 new cases of beta coronavirus in horses from 16 different states (NY, OH, WI, PA, VT, MD, ME, MI, MA NH, CT, ID, CA, FL, KS, VA ) and one Canadian province. Here is a summary of the clinical signs observed in the affected horses as described on the submission forms:

40% had anorexia
38% had fever
24% failed to provide a history or description of clinical signs on the submission form
22% had lethargy or dullness noted
14% had some degree of diarrhea
10% had some signs of colic
6% were re-tests; these were non-clinical at time of submission but had tested positive for coronavirus on a fecal PCR previously and had associated clinical signs in the past
5% had decreased manure production
5% were non-clinical and were only being tested due to proximity to another horse who had tested positive
2% died following a period of fever, anorexia and subsequent neurologic signs
2% were humanely euthanized due to neurologic signs (head-pressing, staggering)
2% demonstrated muscle fasciculation (along with a fever and anorexia)

Interestingly, the four horses who were re-tested were still fecal PCR positive 6, 26, 48 and 84 days respectively after their initial positive test. Also, they were all non-clinical at the time of the re-test.