Coronavirus (COVID-19) And Pets

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness in both humans and animals. There are many different strains of Coronavirus that each cause different diseases. Some strains of Coronaviruses affect humans, such as the common cold, and others affect animals, such as Feline Infectious Peritonitis (more details below). Fortunately, most strains of Coronavirus only cause symptoms in one species. Covid-19 is the most recent strain of Coronavirus to be discovered; it’s currently causing flu-like symptoms in humans in different countries across the world.

Can pets catch Covid-19?

At present, one dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for the new Covid-19 virus but isn’t showing any symptoms of being unwell. This is thought to be a case of human to animal transmission, but at present, there is no evidence that pets can become unwell or spread the Covid-19 virus between themselves or back to humans.

The BVA says: “We are particularly keen not to cause any unnecessary concern that could lead to pet abandonment. We would emphasize that at the moment, there remains no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of Covid-19 for humans or other animals, or that they become sick. The main source of infection remains human-to-human transmission.”

Coronavirus in pets

There are currently three strains of coronavirus that can cause illness in dogs and cats, but these are not the same as the Covid-19 coronavirus

  • ‘Type 1 & 2 canine coronaviruses’ that both cause diarrhea.
  • ‘Canine respiratory coronavirus’ that causes Kennel Cough.

There is currently one strain of coronavirus that causes and illness in cats called ‘Feline Infections Peritonitis’ (FIP)

Can I vaccinate my pet against Covid-19?

No, there is no vaccine available for Covid-19. There is a vaccine that is occasionally used to protect puppies from canine coronavirus, but this doesn’t provide any protection against other strains of coronavirus such as ‘Canine respiratory coronavirus’ or ‘Covid-19’.

When you Should Consult Vet?

It’s always best to phone your vet practice straight away if you are concerned that your pet is unwell.

At this time, there is no need for owners who are well to change the way they look after their pets in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak. We would advise maintaining good hygiene practices, such as regularly washing your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, especially after handling or feeding your pet. It’s also always sensible to avoid letting your pet lick your face.

If you have been advised to self-isolate, read our advice on pet care during this time.

Precautionary Measures

  • Pet owners should keep themselves updated on the development of this disease.
  • We will endeavor to keep this page up-to-date as more is discovered regarding the Covid-19 virus.

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