– Oh, oh, can Cats and dogs get Corona? YES!
– Are they contagious to us humans and can we transmit it to our darling pets too?
We here at “Pet Greatness” will try to give you some of those answers based on research from VETs, labs., tests, and The Danish Veterinary Society.
First of all, there is no need to be nervous about pets. However, you can easily take some precautions if you want to wear a belt and harnesses.
At first, it was a cat in Belgium. Then two dogs in Hong Kong, and yesterday a total of 7 tigers in the Bronx zoo, New York that after suffering from a cough, were tested positive.
It is a fact now that coronaviruses can also infect animals – including the pets we humans live with and walk with.
– But what exactly is upside down?
Veterinarian “Søren Drimer Pejstrup” thinks this knowledge is essential for pet owners so that they do not become unnecessarily scared or nervous about their animals or their own health.
Below, he reviews what we know about animals as a source of infection for coronavirus – and at the bottom, he gives his advice on how to best care for yourself and your animal:
– Can we infect our beloved pets?
Yes, some animals can get COVID-19 – and the infection comes from humans.
Cats can be infected by humans via the droplets we cough, sneeze or exhale, a study shows.
For example, the cat in Belgium was tested positive for the disease after its female owner became ill.
Researchers from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (HVRI) in northeastern China, carried out a study of infection among laboratory and domestic cats.
The study shows that just cats can be easily infected by people with coronavirus. The animals can simultaneously carry the virus and thus infect other cats.
However, in the study, which has not yet been checked by peers, the cats were exposed to a huge amount of virus, which is unlikely in reality.
Furthermore, it also showed that dogs were not “susceptible” to the virus, but it was only recorded in their stools. It is thus uncertain whether they are indeed a carrier of infection.
The same was true for pigs, ducks and chickens.
Infection between people is therefore much more frequent.
The tigers tested positive for COVID-19 had a dry cough, but they did not have severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The good news is that Animals do not become particularly ill with coronavirus 🙂
Of all the animals that have been tested positive for COVID-19, none of them has become very ill from the infection. Therefore, it does not indicate that the disease is critical for pets.
Hurray, a bit of positive news in these tough times :-).
One dog, tested “weak” positive in Hong Kong, died, but had no symptoms, and the veterinarians thought that it died for other reasons.
The United States tigers only showed symptoms of a “dry cough”, while the cat from Belgium had diarrhoea.
In another Chinese study from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, where the virus started, 102 cats from Wuhan were tested to see if they were infected with the virus or had antibodies to the virus in the body. It turned out to be the case for 15 of the cats. None of them had significant symptoms.
There is no indication that humans can be infected by animals with COVID-19.
Thus, the infection occurs exclusively from human to animals and animals in between.
And the big question:
– Can animal infect humans ?!
It is not known whether animals can infect humans
And whether they can thus contribute to the chain of infection that so many countries authorities are working purposefully to stop.
Unfortunately, there is no research yet on just that.
“ We still have to see that a healthy human encounters a cat that is tested positive, and who then subsequently becomes ill with COVID-19. But it will be very difficult to investigate because it is ethically unjustifiable to make such attempts”, says the veterinarian Søren Drimer Pejstrup.
However, if animals constituted a significant piece in the spread of the virus, he is convinced that it would have been discovered.
The same claims the WHO and the Danish Veterinary Association, who both emphasize that “there is no evidence that animals such as cats and dogs have infected humans”.
Remember to wash your hands after cuddling your dog or cat. There may be an infection in the coat.
Theoretically, animals can infect via the fur
COVID-19 infects via droplets, which is why there is a theoretical risk that these droplets can sit in pet fur.
This can be done by one infected person sneezing or coughing on the fur, another patting the animal and then touching his eyes, nose or mouth.
Thus, the infection is transmitted indirectly between two people via the animal.
Try to consider your animal a bit like the handle of the shopping cart. It is not dangerous in itself, but you should have generally good hand hygiene and hand rubbing alcohol after you have touched it.
To wrap it up:
Human-to-human transmission is the primary route of infection for COVID-19.
(Recommendations from several veterinarians and organisations, as well as the Danish veterinary society in terms of pets and the Coronavirus).
– Can I walk with my dog as normal?
Veterinarians still considers it highly unlikely that a family dog would be infected with COVID-19 and could thus pose a risk to his owner or the owner’s family. It is even more unlikely to infect another dog.
– Can I let my cat out as normal?
Yes, you can.
However, if you are in the group that is at particular risk of becoming very ill by COVID-19 – or in contact with someone in this group (for example, in chemotherapy or heart/lung patient) – you should consider being a little extra careful.
It’s known that cats can receive and pass on COVID-19 without getting sick themselves, but it’s still unknown if infected cats can give the disease back to humans.
In that case, it may be wise to keep your cat inside, based on a precautionary principle, advises veterinarian Søren Pejstrup
– What precautions can I take when dealing with my dog or cat?
Several experts still do not believe it is possible for animals with COVID-19 to pass on the infection to humans.
The best advice is to follow the same handwashing tips you do when shopping or staying in public.
– I have been tested positive for COVID-19 – how should I treat my pet?
There is, in principle, a risk of infecting your pet.
However, it is still very unlikely and there are still no known of cases where an animal has become significantly ill with COVID-19.
According to the Danish Veterinary Association, it is a good idea to “avoid direct contact with your pet” – including clapping, hugging and being “kissed”, if you have the Covid-19.
In addition, they recommend regular hand hygiene and mouthwash when in direct contact with the animal.
– Should I be aware of COVID-19 if I have pets other than dog and cat?
In the same way as the cat, ferrets can receive COVID-19 and propagate the virus.
However, it’s not known if they pose a real infection risk to us humans.
Pigs and chickens apparently cannot receive the infection. Rabbits or rodents have not yet been experimentally investigated.
– Can others take care for my pet if I’m tested positive for COVID-19?
If you are sick and need someone else to look after your pet, you can easily do so.
As there is currently no evidence that animals can transmit infection, you can safely let your cat out or allow your dog to be walked by a person who is healthy.
However, be cautious when handing over the dog. It is recommended to wear gloves and keep really good hand hygiene, so that there is no infection between the owner and the helper.
We at Pet Greatness hope that helped a bit in this jungle of Corona fear. Take care of each other out their and your beloved pets 🙂