I’m sure everyone is tired of reading about the corona virus known as Covid-19. But, many people are calling me with questions about the virus and their pets. So, I will write about what we know.
The corona viruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in humans and some cause illness in Animals. Like the Covid-19 virus that is currently infecting people, corona virus that infect animals can change and become able to infect humans. Thankfully, this happening is considered to be very, very rare. I know, you are thinking that is hard to believe after what the world is currently going through with the Covid-19 corona virus and especially since it has happened two other times in the last 20 yrs. with the MERS corona virus and the SARS corona virus. MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is thought to have come from camels. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)is thought to have come from the small Asian covit cat in China maybe through bats which are both eaten in China. We still are not sure where the Covid_19 corona virus came from in China.
Is the corona virus pets get the same? The answer is no. The corona viruses that can infect cats and dogs do not infect humans. They cause intestinal illness in dogs and cats. Corona viruses that infect humans cause respiratory disease. Cattle also get a corona virus that does not infect humans and causes diarrhea in calves.
Can my pets get the Covid -19 virus from humans and if the can do the spread it to humans? That is a good question. Last week a cat in Belgium reportedly tested positive after it’s owner got sick with Covid -19. Supposedly it had mild symptoms, but recovered in a week or so. Was the test accurate? No one knows. Two dogs were reported to be tested positive in China. But can we believe them? If the can get it is considered to be a very rare occurrence. They definitely can’t infect humans if they get it as they are considered a “dead end host”. The CDC is sticking buy their guns and saying there is “no conclusive evidence that pets can be infected with the virus and or can be a source of infection for humans”. There have been no reported increase in respiratory illness in pets in the US during this time. There has never been a reported case in the world where a human was infected by a dog or cat. My opinion is cats and dogs can get the virus from humans in some cases but the symptoms are mild.
What advice does the CDC give to pet owners? Continue the normal precautions. Wash your hands after handling your dogs or cats in case some gets the virus on their fur. If you get sick or know you are positive for Covid-19 isolate yourself from your pets as well as people of course. Get someone else to care for your pets if you get sick if possible.
Should A person get their pets vaccinated for the corona virus in hopes it will prevent the Covid-19 infection? The answer is no. They are two different viruses and it will not protect your pet from the human virus. Remember, the CDC says they can’t get it anyway, but there is still a whole lot we don’t know about this virus. If you have questions fill free to call your vet for answers. Be safe everyone!