Greyhound Transport Restrictions

Greyhound Transport Restrictions as a result of a Canine Coronavirus / Infectious Gastrointestinal Illness outbreak

March 2020

Dogmovers continues to closely monitor the ongoing outbreak of Infectious Canine Coronavirus currently evident amongst Greyhounds in certain areas of many Australian States.

Canine Coronavirus is in no way related to the current human Covid-19 outbreak which has been the focus of much media attention this year

Dogmovers are actively limiting the number of Greyhounds transported at this time. Greyhounds booked for transport from affected areas or by Greyhound owners or trainers that are not known to us will be required to provide evidence or justify that the dog has not recently had and is clear of this disease. Other factors that may be taken into consideration when deciding whether we will accept any Greyhound for Transport may include:

  • Has the dog had veterinary clearance to travel.
  • Does the Kennel have clearance regarding this disease from its state industry body.
  • Does the kennel or trainer have a proven track record or demonstrable quality of bio-security measures in place.
  • Does the kennel or trainer have a good history with Dogmovers.
  • Does the kennel or trainer have a good reputation within the industry.

These measures are being taken to protect the health of all dogs and particularly puppies that we may be transporting at the same time. We recognise that the majority of industry participants hold very high standards with respect to the health of their animals and the industry and are actively seeking to limit the spread of this disease. However, some states racing industry bodies are taking limited action and providing little or no publicly available updated or current information regarding the spread of the outbreak within their state beyond basic bio-security advice. We view these steps are necessary to maintain the quality of our service and eliminate the possibility that we may inadvertently collect an infected animal. We reserve the right to alter the transport contract or refuse to collect any animal at our sole discretion if we believe any risk exists.

THE HISTORY OF THE CURRENT OUTBREAK

In recent weeks, there have been several reports of a gastrointestinal illness in Greyhounds and other dogs. Testing of affected canines has identified a strain of Canine Coronavirus as the causative agent.

This illness was first reported to be present in Greyhounds in Western Australia throughout January and February 2020, followed by South East QLD, various regions throughout NSW and Victoria in February and March.

State Greyhound Industry groups have advised measures ranging from individual quarantine of affected animals to travel bans. In Early March Greyhound Racing Victoria advised all Greyhounds travelling into Victoria from other state must undergo up to 14 days of quarantine before being eligible to race and Greyhound Racing SA has placed a ban on interstate Greyhounds being nominated for local races.

At the time of writing relevant affected areas include but are not limited to:

  • South East QLD
  • Bundaberg, QLD
  • Northern Rivers, NSW (Casino & Grafton)
  • Woolongong, NSW
  • Londonderry, NSW
  • Lara, Vic.

CANINE CORONAVIRUS

In recent weeks, there have been several reports of a gastrointestinal illness in Greyhounds and other dogs. Testing of affected canines in has identified a strain of Coronavirus as the causative agent.

Canine Coronaviruses are commonly found in dogs, and this Coronavirus is in no way related to the current human Coronavirus outbreak which has been the focus of much media attention this year.

The following clinical signs and disease patterns have been identified in infected Greyhounds:

Stomach upsets – Ranging from reduced appetite to diarrhoea/scours and vomiting
Lack of energy and reduced activity
Most cases do not present with an elevated temperature
Illness lasts between 2 – 14 days but often resolves within 5 days
Dogs can still shed the virus for 6-9 days after their symptoms have resolved
Some dogs that do not appear ill can shed the virus and spread it to healthy dogs
The virus is transmitted from direct contact with faeces or contaminated material
Young dogs and puppies are most at risk of infection and developing serious illness or death
The virus is highly contagious and may display a “storm” of illness in a kennel environment
The virus can be easily killed using commonly available disinfectant products
The symptoms of gastroenteritis caused by this virus are normally mild and resolve without treatment.

There have been no deaths recorded in adult Greyhounds, but the disease has the potential to impact on race fields, kennels and other animals during transport. Trainers are advised to remain vigilant and implement appropriate hygiene and bio-security measures to reduce the risk of their dogs becoming ill.

It is advised that you take the following measures to protect your Greyhounds:

  • Monitor your Greyhounds for signs of illness, and if you have concerns consult your veterinarian.
  • Frequent cleaning of your kennels, transport, equipment and feed/water bowls with a bleach-based product or specialist veterinary disinfectant such as Virkon®, F10® & Wysywash®
  • If infection is suspected, isolate affected Greyhounds and in contacts from other dogs.
  • If your Greyhound is due to be transported and you suspect it is ill, reschedule it’s transport and if going to your veterinarian, please inform them prior to arrival that your Greyhound may be infected.
  • Maintain high levels of hygiene in your kennel and remove faeces from the environment as often as possible.
  • Use personal protective equipment such as gloves, overalls and boots to reduce the risk of you spreading the virus where possible.
  • Do not share bedding and utensils between Greyhounds.
  • Dogs which are being introduced into your kennel should be quarantined and isolated from the general population for 14 days.
  • This is important if you are receiving dogs from affected areas of dogs being transported with dogs from affected areas.
  • Reduce travel with your Greyhounds that is not essential.

A vaccine is available however it does not provide complete protection. Breeding females and recently born puppies are the best candidates for vaccination. Should you be considering vaccination, it is advised that you consult with your clinical veterinarian.