Corona viruses are a large group of viruses of the family Coronaviridae. These viruses circulate in a range of animals and may sometimes spill over into the human population due to mutations, such as with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Once these viruses infect humans, they spread by human to human contact.
Currently, discussions on the new COVID – 19 outbreak are widespread across media; but is there any information on whether it can affect your pet?
Can a pet become infected with the new Coronavirus?
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has stated that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with this new Coronavirus. However, they stress that this is a rapidly evolving situation and that information will be updated as it becomes available, and that there is no evidence that domestic dogs or cats are carriers of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Frequently Asked Questions
To help get a better understanding of the concerns and answer pet owner’s questions during this time, the WSAVA have provided the following Frequently Asked Questions for vets to help them to answer questions about pets and this new virus.
- Can COVID – 19 infect domestic animals?
Currently there is no evidence that it can infect pets or other domestic animals. Additionally there is currently no evidence that pets might be a source of infection to people. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Should I avoid contact with pets if I am sick with this virus?
It is best not to handle pets or other animals if you are sick with this virus. Avoid contact with animals and wear a facemask if you must care for a pet.
- If my pet or other animal has been in contact with someone who is sick can they spread the disease to other people?
We do not know yet if animals can get infected or if they can get sick from this new corona virus. There is currently no evidence for this. There is also no evidence that pets or other domestic animals might be a source of infection to people. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- What are the concerns regarding pets that have been in contact with people infected with the virus?
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source it is now spreading from person to person, mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is no data to date that dogs or cats can become infected with COVID 19.
- What should be done with animals in areas where the virus is active?
Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID – 19, several types of corona viruses can cause illnesses in animals and spread between animals and people. Currently there is no evidence that pets or other domestic animals can be infected with this new virus. It is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. People diagnosed with COVID – 19 should stay away from pets to help protect the pet from the potential for disease spread.
If you have any further queries about this virus and your pet contact your local vet for information and guidance.