Answered: Can Your Pet Get The COVID-19 Coronavirus?

The World Organisation for Animal Health said keeping animals that test positive for the virus away from unexposed animals was best practice © ALEX PLAVEVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

PET MATTERS: While the entire world is caught up in the devastating impact that the coronavirus is having on humans as the cases continue to flood in, but what about our beloved pets? Reports from World Health Organization (W.H.O.), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) are in agreement is that there are no meaningful signs that our pets can get this virus or spread it. 

Durban based Veterinarian, Dr Sanil Singh says he’s come across several cases of a different strains of COVID-19 in dogs in the past, AND WITHOUT a high mortality rate.

If I live in an apartment and I am quarantined what must I do about my dog pooping? The New York Times has some tips,

Dogs wearing masks are seen in a stroller in Shanghai on February 19, 2020. – The death toll from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 2,000 on February 19 after 136 more people died, with the number of new cases falling for a second straight day, according to the National Health Commission. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The potty problem

A primary issue for urban dogs who are quarantined with their owners is the inability to go outside to relieve themselves. This is particularly concerning for dogs who live in apartments and who, under normal circumstances, must be walked multiple times a day, as opposed to dogs in other parts of the country who are able to use their private yards. Under quarantine dogs in apartments are going to need to do their business inside.

New York Times

That said, although our pets aren’t getting sick, Covid-19 is changing the lives of pets across the country, especially for dogs and in particular those living in apartments and if their owners are quarantined suspected of the coronavirus.

Science Mag also shares some insights here are some highlights,

Health officials in Hong Kong placed a dog under quarantine after hospitalizing its owner for COVID-19. Veterinarians confirmed that the coronavirus had infected the dog after taking nasal, oral and rectal swabs. However, the dog hasn’t shown any outward signs of illness.

Q: Can we pass the new coronavirus to our pets?

A: The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads from humans to humans. There is no research to support human to animal spread at this time. Samples from the Hong Kong dog had a small number of virus particles present. In an animal with no clinical signs of disease, it’s hard to say what this means. It was a single case, and we learned that we need to do a lot more research into the potential of the human SARS-CoV-19 virus to infect animals.

That said, cats and dogs are mammals too. They have many of the same types of receptors on their cells that we do. So the virus could theoretically attach to these receptors. But will it enter their cells and replicate? Probably not.

Still, people infected with SARS-CoV-19 should limit contact with their pets. Wash your hands, and don’t let them lick you on the face. If the virus is in your secretions, and there’s any potential of transmission, these are ways it could be transmitted.

Q: What should we be doing right now to protect our pets?

A: It is important to include pets in your family’s preparedness planning. If you get sick and are quarantined, you should make sure you have extra pet food on hand. And you should make your neighbors aware of any feeding, walking, or medications that your pets need in case you can’t make it back home. Get prepared now. I live alone with my cat. I have extra food on hand. Even if he doesn’t need it [soon], he’s going to eat it eventually.

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Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority during the coronavirus crisis. 

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