Can animals catch Covid-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the chance of your dog catching the Covid-19 strain is very small.
Professor James Wood, head of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, said: “Despite the millions of people who have spent Covid-19, the number of pets found to be sick or infected is still small.
“Simply put, our domestic dogs and cats can catch Covid-19 from us when they live with us, but they only do so in very rare cases.”
Scientists say pets don’t get much sick from Covid-19, and various pet and charity organizations say you don̵
The world’s first dog to catch a coronavirus died after being declared disease-free and returned home to its owner in Hong Kong.
The owner of the 17-year-old Pomeranian, who also had Covid-19, did not allow the dog to be autopsied, so the exact cause of death remains unknown.
How are animals infected?
Animals are likely to catch the virus in the same way that humans would catch it – when respiratory droplets get into a pet’s nose or mouth.
Professor Wood said: “Cats can be infected by high doses of the virus transmitted by their infected owners in certain conditions.
“The relative size of a cat to a human means that it has far less exhaled breath than a cat in a house, compared to the volume of exhaled air from a human patient.
“Furthermore, cats’ care behavior means that they are more likely to catch an infection from their owner than vice versa.”
When pets are reported to have the virus, they have signs that indicate a respiratory illness.
Downing Street said the first cat infected in England had symptoms of a respiratory infection with a runny nose and some shortness of breath.
Researchers have shown that cats, ferrets and hamsters are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. But ducks, chickens and pigs don’t seem to be.
Professor William Weir of the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine said that “the importance of SARS-CoV-2 as a feline or canine pathogen is unknown.”
He added that there were no reports of cats transmitting the virus to dogs or vice versa.
Can humans catch Covid-19 from animals?
There is no evidence that a person could catch the coronavirus from an animal in the same way as another person could.
Covid-19 is spread mainly through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said pets produce “very low levels of the virus” compared to humans.
Professor James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, added that pets will exhale far less breath – which may have virus droplets inside – than humans.
In any case, when a pet had a positive test for the virus, the owner had it first.
The WHO says: “Although there is currently one case of an infected dog in Hong Kong, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit Covid-19.”
Professor Weir said: “There is currently no evidence that cats, dogs or other pets play any role in the epidemiology of human SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
An official report from the best veterinarian in the United Kingdom says that pets can carry the virus on their fur, which risks spreading the disease from person to person.
It says, “Close contact, such as cuddling, trimming, feeding, and allowing animals to share food, can allow the virus to be transmitted.”
The document, drafted by the UK’s chief veterinarian, was considered on 30 April at a meeting of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE).
The report warns that the virus can survive on pet fur, meaning “there is a plausible way in which the animal can act as a fomite.” [infectious object] at least for a few hours and transfer the virus to others in the household. “
He added that pet owners who have symptoms to prevent the dog or cat from coming into contact with “susceptible people”.
What precautions should I take when dealing with animals?
If you have Covid-19, it is advisable to limit contact with your dog and see if other people can take care of them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “It is still recommended that people with Covid-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help keep you and your animals healthy. ‘
How to stay safe around your pet:
- Wash hands after handling animals, their food, waste or consumables
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean properly after pets
- Take your pet to the vet regularly and talk to them if you have questions about your pet’s health