While the world still struggles to deal with COVID-19, there is also confusion and concern about our companion animals and coronavirus; including our equine friends.

Can horses catch coronavirus? The short answer is yes … and no! DO NOT PANIC, take a deep breath and keep reading for some good news!

Can Horses Catch Coronavirus? Yes.

There’s NO need to panic even though horses can become infected with a form of coronavirus and that is the critical distinction!

Coronavirus or COVID-19BUT … equine coronavirus (also known as Equine Enteric Coronavirus and ECoV) is “host-specific” and there is no evidence that it can be spread outside the species (or to humans).

Again, the COVID-19 virus the world is fighting is NOT the same strain of coronavirus that can infect horses; they are two distinctly different diseases according to the Palm Beach Equine Clinic and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Can My Horse Infect Me with Coronavirus?

Happily, this answer is a simple and emphatic NO! And vice versa, your horse cannot get human coronavirus!

A Horse and Woman's Face Next to Each Other
What Is Equine Coronavirus?

Equine coronavirus is a gastrointestinal – enteric – disease in horses (unlike the human coronavirus that causes respiratory issues and worse). ECoV is transmitted when an infected horse’s manure is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission) or when a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces contaminated with infected manure.


Equine Coronavirus in horses and foals is more flu-like. Even better, the frequency of ECoV is low – even rare – since 2010. This has also been validated by Dr. Nicola Pusterla, an equine infectious disease expert.

Common symptoms of ECoV infection are typically mild and include:

  • Anorexia, lack of appetite Horse Laying Down in a Pasture
  • Lethargy
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Laying down frequently
  • Elevated rectal temperature
  • Fever
  • Colic or diarrhea (only in 15-20% of infected horses)

Diagnosis is done with a simple fecal test.

Listen to the Podcast: Dr. Nicola Pusterla on Equine Coronavirus

Now that you know the facts about coronavirus and your horse, you can rest easy!

For suggestions on learning mindfulness from your pet to counter coronavirus, click here!

Image Credits

Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay 

MasterTux from Pixabay 

Emma Morin from Pixabay 

Rihaij from Pixabay 

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