Recent news about pets and animals being infected with COVID-19 has left many pet parents worried about their furkids. But before you panic, here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 and pets.
COVID-19 cases in dogs
Last February 26, health officials in Hong Kong reported a 17-year-old Pomeranian dog was placed under quarantine after testing positive on a ‘low-level’ infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 disease in humans. The dog’s owner was also hospitalized due to COVID-19, but another dog and cat from the same household were both found to be virus-free.
The Pomeranian did not show any signs of illnesses so the dog was tested again on March 14. The results showed the dog tested negative and so the Pomeranian was allowed to go home. However, after two days the dog passed on due to unknown causes.
The South China Morning Post reports that it is highly unlikely that the Pomeranian dog passed due to the coronavirus. A medical source has pointed out that the dog was a senior at 17 years old and may have been suffering from underlying illnesses even before testing ‘weak positive’ from the virus.
On March 18, a two-year-old German Shepherd Dog in Hong Kong also tested positive for the virus along with his owner who also tested positive for COVID-19. For two days, the dog continued to test positive but then ended up having negative results over the next 10 days. Another mixed breed dog from the same residence was negative. Both dogs did not develop any signs of illness while under quarantine.
COVID-19 cases in cats
A cat in Belgium was reported to show signs of digestive and respiratory illnesses and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. It was reported that the cat showed signs of illnesses a week after the cat’s owner returned from Italy. Fortunately, the cat’s condition improved in 9 days after the onset of the symptoms.
Another cat tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong and was reported to be in quarantine with no clinical signs of disease.
Human-to-pet transmission remains rare
As of April 14, 2020, the only pets that were exposed to COVID-19 and have tested positive for the virus are two dogs in Hong Kong and two cats (one each from Belgium and Hong Kong). Of the four cases, three did not show any signs of illness except for the cat in Belgium. The Belgian cat has since recovered from the disease.
To date, human-to-pet transmission of COVID-19 remains rare. According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), “there is no evidence that companion animals are playing a significant epidemiological role in this human disease. However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19) limit contact with companion and other animals.”
Pet-to-human transmissions still unlikely
According to the WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that dogs and cats can spread COVID-19 to humans. The virus mainly spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking.
But if your pet is sick and you suspect it’s due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can discuss how you can safely bring your pets to the clinic for treatment.
If you are sick, protect your furkids
There is still a lot we need to know about COVID-19. We do not fully know how the virus can actually affect our pets. If you suspect that you’re infected, it is still recommended to limit your contact with your pets and other animals. Here’s how you can protect your furkids according to the CDC:
- Stay in a specific room, away from other people and pets in your home
- Use a separate bathroom too, if possible
- Wear a mask or cover your face with a cloth
- Ask another family member to take care of your pets
- Avoid any kind of contact with your pets and the items your pet uses or interacts with daily (pet food, bowls, bed, toys, etc.)
- Wash your hands before and after you interact with them
Also, make sure that your pets have enough healthy pet food stocked up during the quarantine. Wishbone‘s gourmet dog and cat food recipes are made to give your furkids the complete nutrition they need to stay healthy and strong. All our recipes are enriched with the power of 8 superfoods to help strengthen your pet’s immune system, promote better health, and make our meals appetizing even to finicky eaters.
Read here to know more about COVID-19.