Message Number: YG2658 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-17 19:27:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ECE help.

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Edward Lipinski <elipinski@j...>
> Dear Doctor Murray,
> How do you identify a corona virus?
> How is a corona virus different from any other virus?
> Are all viruses untreatable or is the corona virus the only
> virus?
> What is the source of the corona virus?

Dear Edward - I will step in here with an answer and a request.
First the request -

These questions are basic science knowledge and can be easily
answered elsewhere on the Web, or even in this case, by reviewing
previous post on the FHL. The expertise of our vets is in short
supply, and best reserved for answering questions about particular
cases, rather than reviewing basic science.

Regarding your questions:

Coronaviruses are a specific family of RNA viruses that cause a wide
variety of disease in animal species. Coronaviruses are best known
for causing enteric disease in domestic species, including
transmissible gastroenteritis in pigs, coronavirus diarrhea in dogs,
and feline infectious peritonitis.

Coronaviruses are best identified by electron microscopy of feces or
tissue, and are recognizable due to the presence of peplomers
(characteristic of coronaviruses) surrounding the viral particle (it
resembles a crown).

Coronaviruses are different in many ways from other viruses in the
way that they replicate, the diseases that they cause, the tissues
that they choose to infect, the receptors that are used to gain entry
to cells, their ability to be grown in culture, cell cultures that
may be used to grow the cells, and of course, their characteristic
size and appearance.

There are few viruses that can be directly treatable with drugs, and
coronaviruses are not one against which there are any specific
treatments. The best that we can due with coronaviruses, and other
viruses that affect the intestine, is to empirically treat the
symptoms and support the animal until it can support itself.

The source of the cornavirus of ECE is simply another animal, which
has shed infectious virus. The shedding period of ECE is considered
anecdotally to be approximately 6-8 months.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM