A few weeks ago I wrote a brief article on the risks faced by you and your dog from coronavirus. Since then the press have had a field day with stories about dogs, cats and even tigers getting infected and potentially passing Covid-19 onto humans.
We thought it might be a good idea to have a look at some of these reports and hopefully lay some of the ‘scare tells’ to rest.
In February came the report of a dog in Hong Kong (a Pomeranian) that tested a ‘weak positive’ for corona virus. The dog’s owner had the virus and it appears that the dog potentially became infected from her. A spokesman for the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dept. said however, that if the dog was indeed infected it would be the first case of a pet catching the virus from humans, and there was no evidence that it could be transferred the other way, ie from dogs to people.
In early April a Chinese study found that cats are ‘very susceptible’ to corona. However the study only involved 5 animals and showed that the virus was easily spread between felines – with no evidence of it being able to be passed to humans. Then there is the case in Belgium where another cat was shown to have contracted covid-19 from it’s human owner. However, according to Steven Van Gucht, a virologist and federal spokesperson for the coronavirus epidemic in Belgium, there have been no reports of pets passing the virus to their human owners and human-to-pet transmission is not a significant path of viral spread.
“We think the cat is a side victim of the on-going epidemic in humans and does not play a significant role in the propagation of the virus,” he said.
There are still no reports of any animals in the UK with coronavirus.
There are risks of course as we detailed in our previous blog post – but only in that your pets may pass the virus from human to human. Don’t let your dogs ‘kiss’ your face, wash your hands after petting and walking them, try to ‘socially distance’ them from other dogs where possible. Common sense stuff.
Enjoy your pets and remember that according to the World Health Organisation there is “no evidence humans could become infected with coronavirus by their pets.“
If you think you may have coronavirus, follow the latest government advice found on the NHS website.
Paws Galore are experts in all aspects of dog behaviour and training and offer courses and workshops throughout the Southeast – remote courses are available throughout this isolation period. They also offer dog walking, sitting and transport services.