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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Evolutionary genetics of canine respiratory coronavirus and recent introduction into Swedish dogs

Wille, Michelle; Johansson Wensman, Jonas; Larsson, Simon; Theelke, Anna-Karin; Hayer, Juliette; Malmberg, Maja; Van Damme, Renaud


Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) has been identified as a causative agent of canine infectious respiratory disease, an upper respiratory infection affecting dogs. The epidemiology is currently opaque, with an unclear understanding of global prevalence, pathology, and genetic characteristics. In this study, Swedish privately-owned dogs with characteristic signs of canine infectious respiratory disease (n = 88) were screened for CRCoV and 13 positive samples (14.7%, 8.4-23.7% [95% confidence interval (CI)]) were further sequenced. Sequenced Swedish CRCoV isolates were highly similar despite being detected in dogs living in geographically distant locations and sampled across 3 years (2013-2015). This is due to a single introduction into Swedish dogs in approximately 2010, as inferred by time structured phylogeny. Unlike other CRCoVs, there was no evidence of recombination in Swedish CRCoV viruses, further supporting a single introduction. Finally, there were low levels of polymorphisms, in the spike genes. Overall, we demonstrate that there is little diversity of CRCoV which is endemic in Swedish dogs.


Canine infectious respiratory disease; Canine respiratory coronavirus; CRCoV; Coronavirus; Evolutionary genetics; Kennel cough

Published in

Infection, Genetics and Evolution
2020, Volume: 82, article number: 104290