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Can my pets get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Being pet owners we are firm believers that pets are our loyal furry knights who love us unconditionally and are always by our side. In the past couple of months, there has been a single reoccurring worry for our furry family members; can our fur baby contract the novel coronavirus, COVID-19?
With an overwhelming newsfeed and the chance of an inaccurate statement on best practices going viral, and coronavirus in pet symptoms it can be hard to distinguish what information will actually help you and your pet.
That's why we've created a list of accurate information to help ease your mind about the question every pet owner is asking: can my pets get the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
What is the difference between the coronavirus and COVID-19?
Many media reports and people have used “coronavirus” and “COVID-19″ interchangeably. We want to clarify these two terms first; ‘coronavirus’ actually refers to a handful of diseases within the family coronaviridae, which are generally associated with acute respiratory symptoms in mammals. However, as explained by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is an illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus that is new, or novel to most animals.
Can dogs and cats get COVID-19?
If you’ve done any research, you may have heard about the two pet dogs in Hong Kong that tested positive for COVID-19. Both dogs lived in homes with owners who had tested positive for COVID-19. Local health officials describe the cases of the two dogs in Hong Kong as “likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission,” and neither dog displayed any signs of illness from the virus. As of March 25, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department tested 17 dogs and eight cats living with COVID-19 patients for the coronavirus. They found evidence of the virus in two dogs, a Pomeranian and a German Sheperd. However, neither animal became sick and none of the eight cats were infected or had become ill from exposure. Through final testing Hong Kong officials were able to confirm dogs, and other animals can become infected with the virus, although there is no evidence they play a role in spreading the virus and they are not easily infected. Hong Kong officials stress that “these findings indicate that dogs and cats are not infected easily with this virus, and there is no evidence that they play a role in the spread of the virus.”
Can animals carry the virus that causes COVID-19 on their skin or fur?
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur or hair of pets.
However, because animals can sometimes carry other germs that can make people ill, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing your hands before and after interacting with them.
Can humans transmit COVID-19 to pets?
We can ease your mind a little here; there are no reports of pets who have become exposed to COVID-19 becoming ill with its symptoms. Several infection disease experts and animal health organizations agree that there is no current evidence that pets are becoming ill with COVID-19. Family medicine specialist, Dr. Vyas says the majority of coronaviruses which occur in animals are different than the ones that humans can contract.
If I have COVID-19, should I avoid being around my pet?
If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been tested and received a positive result, it has been recommended to use caution and stay away from your pets. To ensure your fur baby is cared for ask a friend or a family member to look after your pet until you have isolated for the recommended 14 day period and are feeling better overall. Avoiding contact such as sharing food, petting and snuggling, kissing and letting your pet lick you are recommended by the CDC if you are unable to isolate from your pets.
Can I get COVID-19 from my dog or cat?
In rare cases, your pets might become infected with COVID-19, but the chances of your pets become ill from symptoms or passing it on to other family members or animals are extremely unlikely according to research. The CDC states that there is no evidence pets can spread COVID-19 to people.
How can I keep my pet safe from COVID-19?
Here are some important factors to keep in mind:
- There is no evidence that pets play a role in transmitting COVID-19 to humans.
- Continue to practice all of the measures that the CDC, Canada World Health Organization, and the World Health Organization recommend. According to WHO, there are five useful ways to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- HANDS > Wash them often
- ELBOW > Cough into it
- FACE > Don't touch it
- SPACE > Keep safe distance
- HOME > Stay if you can
- If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 avoid contact with pets and other animals, just like you would other people.
- Your animals immune system is a natural defence mechanism to the viruses of the world, and need to be properly fed with high quality foods.
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