With the coronavirus spreading around the world, it raises the question whether or not your pet can contract the virus.
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) says there is no scientific evidence your pet can contract the COVID-19 virus and says there is no need to be worried.
“Right now, there is no scientific evidence that the COVID-19 virus can cause illness in your pets or serve as a mechanism of transmission to other people,” explains Dr. Bryan Langlois, Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and Immediate Past-President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA). “They have been able to isolate it in testing one dog in Hong Kong, but that does not really mean anything at this time other than they looked for it, and they found it. There is no evidence it has caused any infection in any dog, cat, or horse at this time. There is also no evidence supporting that it can be spread from these animals to humans. It appears they tested for this more out of scientific curiosity than concern for possible spread. Many times, doctors and scientists find things they do not expect when testing both humans and animals, but they have no clinical significance.”
Dr. Langlois says if your pet is experiencing sneezing or coughing then to get them checked out by a vet.
“These are still signs of a possible infection, just not the new coronavirus. It is still very important to have your dog or cat seen for these signs to ensure they do not need to receive any treatment for other infections,” said Dr. Langlois.
Dr. Langlois says pets can contract coronavirus, however, not the COVID-19 strain.
“This is true, but it is not that straight forward. It is true animals can become infected with coronavirus, but these are different strains of corona that are unique to these animals. In fact, one form of coronavirus in cats can lead to the disease Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in cats. These are not the same strains of virus as COVID-19 and we want pet owners to understand this.”
Dr. Langlois says research is continually ongoing and the best place to get the most accurate and up-to-date information for the health of your pets regarding COVID-19 is your local vet.
“Things have been changing rapidly regarding this new virus and information changes daily. At this time it does not appear to be a cause for concern for pets, and we currently do not feel it will be, but it is always wise to stay abreast of the latest information and not be afraid to reach out to your veterinarian with any questions you may have. It still remains, of course, that good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing, especially after playing with dogs and cats or cleaning up after them, are the best defense against any infection,” said Dr. Langlois.
You can visit PVMA’s website for more information.