News about COVID-19 stems from it originating from animals, and you may have already heard about dogs and cats tested positive for COVID-19 in the news. Could your dogs or cats get infected and spread it on other animals? Can we get infected from dogs or cats with COVID-19? Is there something we as pet owners should be worried about?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets. The chance of getting the infection is high when people come in contact with each other.
Risk of people spreading COVID-19 to pets
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, they are still learning about the viruses that cause COVID-19, but they said that it could spread from people to animals in some situations. Moreover, there is a small number of pets worldwide that have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, and those are mostly in contact with people that has COVID-19.
Can pets get COVID-19?
Yes. There is evidence in real-world cases and laboratory experiments that show both cats and dogs become infected with the coronavirus.
In Hong Kong, health officials have tested 17 dogs and eight cats living with COVID-19 positive patients. They found evidence of the virus in two dogs, but both are not sick.
Another case was reported in Belgium. The owner had COVID-19, but unlike in Hong Kong, the cat becomes sick with respiratory problems, diarrhea and vomiting.
The final evidence comes from Wuhan, where researchers tested 102 cats. Fifteen of those cats were tested positive for antibodies to the virus which means the cats have been infected in the past. They also stated that the risk could occur in outbreak regions.
Can pets spread the COVID-19 to another animal?
The chances of your pet catching coronavirus from another animal are low. However, if you take your dog outside, you still need to follow safety precautions to avoid spreading the virus.
If a dog approaches you, you don't have to worry about getting infected on it from their fur. But if the dog has a leash, you need to keep your distance as the human from the other end of it could have the virus.
Should I Quarantine My Pet?
If everyone in the household is healthy, there is no need to quarantine your pet. If you are tested positive for COVID-19, you need to distance yourself from the pet to prevent them from getting infected.
WHO advises pet owners to wash their hands with soap and water after handling their pets. You can also clean the paws of your dog or cat with antiseptic wipes after walking them outside.
The CDC recommends not allowing pets to contact other humans or animals outside and limit contact with other people. When you or a family member gets infected with COVID-19, isolate them from people or animals to prevent the risk of getting sick with the virus.