Can my pet contract Covid-19?

Can my pet contract Covid-19?
March 26, 2020 kernow

Advice for owners

Can my pet contract Covid-19?

Not as far as we know. While there has been one instance of a dog testing positive for very low levels of  Covid-19, to date, it remains unlikely that pets can either catch the disease or spread the virus between themselves or to humans.

Surely if one dog can become infected my pets could?

The dog in Hong Kong tested ‘weak positive’ for Covid-19. Tests have revealed that samples from the dog’s nose and mouth showed low-level signs of the virus. But this could be due to environmental contamination, similar to it being on someone’s sleeve after they’ve sneezed into it. There is no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of this human disease.

Didn’t Covid-19 start in animals?

While the SARS coronavirus was associated with civet cats and the MERS coronavirus was transmitted by dromedary camels, possible animal sources of Covid-19 have not yet been confirmed. Further investigations into this theory are ongoing.

Can my pet transmit Covid-19 to me or my family?

Covid-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. There is no evidence that pets can transmit the virus. However, it is sensible to use good hygiene precautions when in contact with animals at any time.

Special care should be taken to maintain good hygiene procedures in children and others who are less capable of self-directed hygiene, particularly those with pre-existing health issues or immune compromise.

What should I do if my pet is ill or injured?

Pets should not suffer needlessly regardless of whether you have Covid-19 or not. Please follow the usual process of calling your vet for advice in all circumstances. If your pet requires emergency treatment, your first port of call during the day should be your local vet. If you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19, do not take your pet to the clinic unless the vet instructs you to do so.

I’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19 or advised to self-isolate, how should I protect my pets?

If you can, ask another member of your household to care for your pets while you are sick. If this isn’t possible, you should restrict contact, just like you would around other people. This includes avoiding petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food with your pet.

Although there is no evidence that pets can become sick or play a role in the spread of this human disease, it’s always best practice to maintain good hygiene.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after you prepare your pet’s food If you are ill, you should cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or the inside of your elbow and avoid touching your face wherever possible.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a family of ribonucleic acid viruses. The virus particle looks like a crown, which is where the name corona comes from. Coronavirus infections are common in humans and animals. While some strains are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted between animals and humans, many are not. Covid-19 refers to the disease caused by this new strain of coronavirus.

Can’t I vaccinate my pet against coronavirus?

Not against this virus. There is a vaccine that’s used to protect puppies from canine coronavirus, but this doesn’t provide any protection against other strains of coronavirus such as canine respiratory coronavirus or Covid-19. There is currently no vaccine available for Covid-19 for humans either. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Some useful resources:

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/av/2011/609465/
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#2019-nCoV-and-animals

https://wsava.org/news/highlighted-news/the-new-coronavirus-and-companion-animals-advice-for-wsava-members