Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause various health problems in both people and animals. Some coronaviruses are responsible for the yearly misery of the common cold in humans, while others cause illnesses in certain animals – camels, cattle, bats. Certain coronaviruses, e.g., feline and canine coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans. So, if you have pets, you may ask: Can pets get COVID-19?
Can Animals Get the Virus That Causes COVID-19?
The answer is yes. It seems that this coronavirus can sometimes spread from people to animals. The first US report of an animal testing positive for COVID-19 concerned a tiger at the New York City Bronx Zoo. The tiger, a four-year-old female, named Nadia, developed a dry cough and a decrease in appetite. Other tigers and some lions also developed symptoms. The zoo believes that the big cats became infected following contact with a zoo employee who had contracted the virus but who was asymptomatic or had not yet developed symptoms.
Can Pet Cats Get COVID-19?
Two felines in separate households in New York State are believed to be the first US pets to have tested positive for COVID-19. In the case of the first cat, it is thought that the virus may have been transmitted by asymptomatic or mildly ill family members or via contact with an infected person outside the home. Testing of the second cat was done after it’s owner tested positive for COVID-19, and then the pet showed symptoms of a respiratory condition. Another cat in the same home showed no signs of illness. Both of these newsworthy felines had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to make full recoveries.
Can Dogs Get COVID-19?
A family in North Carolina enrolled in a study, and most members tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Their pets – with the exception of a bearded dragon called Kimchi – were also tested, and the virus was found to be present in one of their dogs, a two-and-a-half-year-old pug called Winston. The tests for another pug named Otis, the family’s daughter, and a cat named Mr. Nibs came back negative. Winston’s symptoms were mild – he was making a gagging sound and not eating breakfast one day, which was unusual for him.
Dogs Around the World
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that it is aware of cases of COVID-19 in dogs reported elsewhere in the world. The American Kennel Club has reported that two dogs in Hong Kong tested positive likely because of human-to-animal transmission. Neither dog showed signs of sickness.
How Can I Protect My Pets From COVID-19?
Can pets get COVID-19? From news reports, this would seem to be the case. So, until we know more, the CDC is recommending the following:
- Do not let your pets interact with people or animals outside your household.
- Keep your cats inside if possible so they can’t come into contact with other people or animals.
- When walking your dog, keep him on a leash and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other humans and animals.
- Keep away from dog parks or other public places where large numbers of people and dogs congregate.
Emergency Treatment for Your Pets in Columbia, SC.
If you live in Columbia, South Carolina, and you have an animal with an emergency situation, don’t hesitate to bring him to CVETS. And, rest assured, in these uncertain times, we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our animal patients.