Diarrhea outbreak associated with coronavirus infection in adult dairy goats

Fauna Leah Smith, Meera C. Heller, Beate M. Crossley, Kristin A. Clothier, Mark L. Anderson, Samantha S. Barnum, Nicola Pusterla, Joan D Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Infection by coronaviruses cause gastrointestinal disease in many species. Little is known about its prevalence and importance in goats. Objective: Identify the etiology, demographics, and clinical features of an outbreak of diarrhea in adult goats. Hypothesis: Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) PCR would detect viral material in feces of goats in the herds involved in the diarrhea outbreak. Animals: Twelve herds with 4 to 230 adult goats were affected. Goats sampled for fecal PCR were ≥1-year-old: 25 from affected herds and 6 from a control herd. Methods: This is a cross-sectional descriptive study of an outbreak of diarrheal disease in adult goats. BCoV PCR primers for the spike (S) or nucleocapsid (N) proteins were used to test fecal material from affected goats. The N protein sequencing and phylogenetic analysis was performed. Herd records and owner surveys were used to characterize morbidity, clinical signs, and treatment. Results: In 2 affected herds 18/25 of animals had at least 1 positive BCoV PCR test. Goats from affected herds were significantly more likely to be PCR positive than the control herd (OR 8.75, 95% CI 1.11-104, P =.05). The most common clinical signs were change in fecal consistency (19/20) and decreased milk production (14/15). Phylogenetic analysis of the N protein showed this virus was closely related to a bovine-like coronavirus isolated from a giraffe. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Bovine coronavirus primers detected nucleic acids of the N and S proteins in feces of goats in affected herds. Coronavirus shedding frequency was temporally associated with the outbreak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • caprine
  • infectious disease
  • PCR assays
  • viral disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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