If you have cats and dogs at home, you should definitely take steps to protect them from the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 infections in pets have been reported in several countries, and in Slovenia, a ferret has reportedly tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. In most cases, pets have caught the virus from people or caregivers.
Even zoo animals have contracted COVID-19 after being exposed to a zookeeper or a keeper sickened by the virus. Tigers, lions, pumas, cougars, snow leopards and gorillas in zoos, mink on farms and other mammals are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 .
Recent research has shown that the coronavirus can also infect many mammals, including fruit bats, hamsters, mink, pigs, rabbits, raccoons and deer. Some of these animals have spread the infection to animals of the same species in laboratories.
Non-human primates like macaques, baboons, and marmosets (small, long-tailed South American monkeys) are also susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 if laboratory experiments are any indication. Some studies show that chickens and ducks are unlikely to be infected or spread the virus.
Most of these results are based on experiments in a small number of animals, and so far there have been no cases of animals transmitting the infection to humans. But more research is needed to confirm this. And scientists have yet to make a list of all the animals that can contract the novel coronavirus.
“There are now a growing number of published studies on companion animals around the world which suggest that asymptomatic infection in companion animals is quite common,” said Professor James Wood, head of the veterinary medicine department of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Medical News Today.
What are the symptoms of COVID in pets?
Most infected animals tend to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID, according to research from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
Animals infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 may have fever, cough, difficulty breathing, lethargy, sneezing, runny nose, discharge from the eyes, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Can people pass the coronavirus to pets?
The chances of pets contracting COVID-19 are high if a family member has a coronavirus infection. COVID patients should therefore avoid close contact with their pets as much as possible. This means that you should avoid cuddling, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
Scientists at the Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found that animals tested positive between 11 and 51 days after the onset of symptoms in their caregivers. Results appear in the journal PLOS ONE.
How quickly will cats and dogs recover from COVID-19? Is it fatal?
The animals are recovering well, according to the Dutch study. He said: “About 20% of exposed pets can become infected, and they end up clearing the infection like most humans do.” No death has been recorded to date.
Why are cats more prone to COVID-19 infection?
Canadian researchers have found that cats are more susceptible to coronavirus infections than dogs. This was confirmed by the Utrecht University study that the biology of cats can make them more vulnerable to COVID. Cats are carriers of other varieties of coronavirus.
Other research has suggested that felines have a greater ability to grow the virus in their cells than dogs or even lab mice, making them more likely to contract the virus.
The researchers also found that the more time cats spent with a pet owner, the more likely they were to become infected. And cats tend to sleep closer to their owner’s face than dogs, which increases their exposure to infections.
Dogs’ chances of contracting COVID-19 did not depend on time spent with their owner.
“It could be something as simple as most dogs have long noses, or the virus doesn’t bind as well to the dog’s cell receptor or something with the immune system.” NBC News quoted Sue VandeWoude, distinguished professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PET HAS COVID-19
If your pet is coronavirus positive, don’t worry. So far, no deaths have been reported. These tips from the Mayo Clinic might help.
■ Pets will only experience mild symptoms, so they can be cared for at home.
■ Take the same precautions as if a family member was infected.
■ Isolate your animal in a separate room
■ Wear gloves when interacting with your pet or its food, dishes, garbage or litter.
■ Wash your hands after touching your pet’s objects.
■ Do not put a face covering on your pet.
■ Do not wipe your pet with disinfectants. It can be harmful.
■ If your pet’s symptoms worsen, call the veterinarian.
Can animals transmit the coronavirus to other animals?
Cats can pass the new coronavirus to other cats without any of them showing symptoms, according to experiments. A study published in the journal Science found that cats carrying the virus in the mouth and nose infect each other through respiratory droplets. Kittens exposed to the coronavirus had massive lesions to the lungs, nose and throat.
The researchers also found cats and ferrets susceptible to the virus when the researchers introduced virus particles through their noses.
Can I get COVID-19 from pets?
No. Infectious disease experts say there is no evidence to suggest animals play a role in the spread of COVID-19 to humans. Infections in humans are caused by person-to-person or airborne contact.
“Cats are still much more likely to get COVID-19 from you than you get from a cat,” said Keith Poulsen, director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow said in a study published in the Veterinary record that “there is currently no evidence of cat-to-human transmission or that cats, dogs or other domestic animals play a significant role in the epidemiology of human COVID-19 infections.”
Should I have my pet tested for COVID-19?
No. The United States Food and Drug Administration does not recommend routine testing of pets for COVID-19. It appears that the coronavirus can spread from humans to animals in certain situations. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of pets spreading the virus is discussed below. If your pet is sick, see your veterinarian who will decide if a COVID-19 test is required.
What should I do if I think my pet has the coronavirus?
Call your vet. Talk to them about the clinical signs of the disease and if the animal has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The vet will decide if a COVID-19 test is required.
When Is It Safe To End Pet Isolation At Home?
Animals should recover within two weeks after testing positive. Follow your veterinarian’s advice to resume normal animal activities. It is safe for your pet to be around other people and animals if they have not had any symptoms for 72 hours without medication. Also make sure the animal has tested negative for the coronavirus.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PET
Here are the guidelines from the Mayo Clinic:
■ Do not allow your dog or cat to interact with people or animals outside your home.
■ Avoid dog parks or public places where large numbers of people and dogs congregate.
■ When you walk your dog, keep him on a leash and 2 meters from other people and animals.
■ Do not allow anyone to pet your dog when you are walking.
■ Keep cats indoors when possible.
■ If you are sick with COVID-19, isolate yourself from others, including your pet.
Can the coronavirus spread to humans from the skin or coats of pets?
No. There is no evidence that the virus can spread to humans from the skin or hair of pets.
Should pets be vaccinated against the coronavirus?
It is not necessary to vaccinate pets against COVID-19, although veterinarians in Russia have started to vaccinate some animals.
Dr Els Broens, specialist in veterinary microbiology at the University of Utrecht, said: “I don’t see any scientific evidence for this now. Pets are unlikely to play a role in the pandemic. “
Can disinfectants be used on pets?
Using hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, isopropyl alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to clean your pet’s fur or paws is not recommended as it can be harmful.