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Beta Coronavirus

Monday, March 5, 2018

(NY, VT, MA, CT, ME, PA, ID, CA, OH, MO, MI, FL) Beta coronavirus has been detected via PCR of fecal samples from horses in multiple submissions to our laboratory during the months of January and February, 2018. Specifically, we have detected 34 fecal PCR positive cases from 12 states during this 2-month period. The typical clinical signs associated with beta coronavirus infection in horses include fever, lethargy, and inappetance with some showing mild colic signs as well. In rare instances, however, horses may display more severe clinical signs including diarrhea and even neurologic abnormalities (likely associated with hyperammonemia secondary to infection) including dullness, head-pressing and ataxia. In these rare occurrences, infection can be fatal. Infected horses tend to shed coronavirus in their feces for up to 3 weeks but can shed for even more prolonged periods of time in some cases. Some infected horses do not display any apparent clinical signs but may still be shedding the virus in their feces.