Coronavirus is a hot topic currently and we have had lots of questions about how it relates to us and our pets. We thought a quick FAQ might help to provide some accurate information and allay some fears.
The current coronavirus outbreak, is caused by a beta-coronavirus that has been named COVID-19. It is part of a family of many different coronaviruses, some of which can infect mammals. Some of these coronaviruses, the alpha types, can infect dogs and cats.
COVID-19, and the previous SARS and MERS outbreaks, are beta-coronaviruses and have not been known to infect dogs and cats. Canine coronavirus causes gastrointestinal disease in dogs. In cats, coronaviruses can cause FIP, or feline infectious peritonitis. These dog and cat viruses are both different to COVID-19 which is infecting humans. These dog and cat viruses can not be spread to humans.
Can COVID-19 infect Pets?
Currently there is no evidence that COVID-19 can infect companion animals or that our pets can spread the disease. If any evidence comes to light that pets could become sick from this disease, or become a focus of infection for people, we will let you know.
What if COVID-19 becomes active in our area?
Even though there is no evidence that dogs and cats can become infected, it is wise to take normal precautions. Avoid contact with animals you are not familiar with. Always wash your hands before and after you interact with animals. If an owner becomes sick with COVID-19 they should minimize contact with their pet if possible, during this period.
What about the vaccination for Canine Coronavirus?
This vaccine is for the canine coronavirus that causes gastro-intestinal signs. There is no evidence at all that this vaccine could cause any cross protection for COVID-19
What about reports that a dog tested positive to COVID-19 in Hong Kong?
Reports from Hong Kong on the 28th February indicated that a dog owned by an infected patient tested weakly positive to COVID-19. This test detected virus on the dog in the same way it would detect virus on a doorknob in the patient’s house. The dog is showing no clinical signs of being infected and is being held in quarantine for further monitoring.
If you would like to stay abreast of any developments, the WSAVA website www.wsava.org is a good resource to use.