Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an impact on every area of our lives, so it’s no wonder that pet owners are also wondering what the implications are for their four-legged friends.
There have been several reports of dogs and even tigers testing positive for the virus, as well as confusion over a suggestion made by vets that people should keep cats indoors to stop the spread of COVID-19.
So What’s The Truth? Can Our Pets Really Catch or Transmit Coronavirus?
There is still no evidence that dogs or cats can pass the disease onto humans. However, the advice on the World Health Organization says:
“We are aware of instances of animals and pets of COVID-19 patients being infected with the disease.”
As the intergovernmental body responsible for improving animal health worldwide, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has been developing technical guidance on specialized topics related to animal health, dedicated to veterinary services and technical experts (including on testing and quarantine);
There is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans. Further evidence is needed to understand if animals and pets can spread the disease.
Based on current evidence, human to human transmission remains the main driver.
It is still too early to say whether cats could be the intermediate host in the transmission of the COVID-19.
But What Does This in Terms of Advice For Pet Owners?
Last month news headlines had pet owners in a panic when they said that vets recommended cat owners keep their pets indoors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Since that news broke, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) have clarified that their advice applies only for people who have coronavirus symptoms, or who are self-isolating — and only then when it is practical to keep the animal indoors.
The British Veterinary Association added “owners should not worry” about the risk of infection from pets. “There isn’t a single case of a pet dog or cat infecting a human with Covid-19,” Dr. Angel Almendros, from City University in Hong Kong, told BBC News, adding that it seems pets who did test positive for the disease did not become sick or have the capacity to pass it onto a human.
He says “Treat pets like other people in your household. So if you’re feeling sick, it’s better not to interact with them.”
However, it is recommend that all pet-owners practice good hygiene, wash hands after touching their pet and always before eating, preparing food, or touching their face. This is because it’s thought if someone with coronavirus touched the animal’s fur this could stay there for a time and potentially pass on to someone else who then touches the pet’s fur later. However this level of risk is the same as getting groceries delivered or picking up your mail.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.