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What to Know About Pets and Coronavirus

a woman is shown with a mask covering her face while walking her dogs
A woman wearing face mask, walks her dogs in Hong Kong, Thursday, March 5, 2020. Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owner. (Kin Cheung/AP)

By    |   Friday, 20 March 2020 12:17 PM

The death of a 17-year-old Pomeranian pet dog that tested “weak-positive” for COVID-19 sparked panic that domestic dogs and cats could be transmitters of the virus, reports MarketWatch.

The dog’s owner, a 60-year-old Hong Kong woman, also was confirmed to be infected was hospitalized, and recovered.

She declined to have a post-mortem on her dog, which many animal welfare advocates say died because of being quarantined and separated from its owner, rather than from the virus.

Experts say that there is no conclusive evidence that pet animals like dogs and cats can spread COVID-19 or that pet animals can be a source of infection to people. It’s more likely, they say, that it works the other way around. In fact, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Hong Kong that investigated the death of the Pomeranian concluded:

“The sequence results indicate that the virus likely spread from the infected person and subsequently infected the dog.”

According to PetMD evidence shows it is very unlikely that cats and dogs can contract the virus from people or serve as a source of this infection. To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.

The CDC states there is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with the new coronavirus. The World Organization for Animal Health says that “the current transmission of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease.”

Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, reporting for PetMD, says that it is important to stay current because viruses are constantly evolving. “The best thing you can do at this point is stay informed by monitoring news from trusted sources,” she says. A good place to find up-to-date information is the CDC's FAQs on COVID-19 and Animals.

She also recommends good hygiene as one of the best defenses against infectious agents of all kinds. The CDC states, “it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.”

And if your pet becomes ill, Coates recommends seeking appropriate medical or veterinary attention.

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The death of a 17-year-old Pomeranian pet dog that tested “weak-positive” for COVID-19 sparked panic that domestic dogs and cats could be transmitters of the virus, reports MarketWatch.
pets
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2020-17-20
Friday, 20 March 2020 12:17 PM
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