The outbreak of COVID-19 has made national and international headlines. Thousands of cases of the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, have been confirmed since the disease was first diagnosed in Wuhan, China, on December 30, with numbers and death tolls continuing to escalate.
From: Great Pet Care
Can Pets Contract COVID-19?
As organizations like the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) work to understand the virus and control the spread, questions are popping up about whether we should also be concerned about COVID-19 and our pets.
“There is no evidence that transmission [from pets to people] or from pet-to-pet is part of the current outbreak,” says Dr. Kate E Creevy, veterinarian and Mark Chapman Chair in Shelter Medicine and Companion Animal Health at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.
IDEXX Laboratories, a global veterinary diagnostics firm, tested thousands of canine and feline specimens for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and found no cases in pets. The test results align with the current beliefs that the virus is primarily transmitted from person-to-person and supports the recommendation against testing pets at this time.
There have been only three reports of pets testing positive for the coronavirus worldwide—two dogs and one cat.
A Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested “weak positive” for the virus. The owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is believed to have passed it along to the dog. The dog exhibited no signs of illness. The Pomeranian died shortly after being released from quarantine, but experts do not believe the coronavirus had any impact on the death of the 17-year-old dog, who had underlying health conditions and outlived the average life expectancy of a Pomeranian.
The South China Post also confirmed that a second dog, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong. The dog belongs to a 30-year-old COVID-19 patient living in the Pok Fu Lam area. The German Shepherd has since been quarantined. Another mixed breed dog from the same household tested negative for the virus, and is also being monitored in quarantine. Neither dog showed signs of illness.
A cat in Belgium also tested positive for COVID-19, about a week after its owner started showing symptoms of the virus. The cat did display symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and shortness of breath, but it is unconfirmed whether the virus caused these symptoms.
These are isolated cases of human to animal transmission, which does not appear to be common. Health authorities still say there is no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to humans.