With the Facebook news feed filled with news of coronavirus (and now, canine coronavirus!) and the continuous flow of guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation, we can presume we are bound to take enough safety measures for ourselves.
…but then, I came across a news headline a few days ago: Detection of COVID-19 in a pet dog. And with that in my head, I immediately googled: “Can my pet get coronavirus?” Most of us might be thinking by this point, “No! That’s an animal, pfft!”, however, the news said that a Pomeranian belonging to a COVID-19 positive owner was also tested to be a “weak positive” (which immediately lead me to google “canine coronavirus.”)
Even though it is not supposed to be an epidemic for animals, but we can’t be too sure and I certainly didn’t wanna lose my furry friend. Curiosity is indisputable.
I was immediately inflicted by several questions: “Can we infect them?”, “Can they infect us?”, “What precautions must be taken?”, and “How to keep them safe?”
Can Pets Catch the Coronavirus?
According to the research, it is quite safe for our furry ones as of now. COVID-19 is limited to homo sapiens. There are other kinds of viruses that infect dogs, and not humans or cats; or probably some that infect only cats, leaving out dogs and human beings. This has been termed as “canine coronavirus.”
Can Pets Spread the Coronavirus to Us?
As mentioned above, it is nearly impossible as for now that an animal can harbor the coronavirus and pass it on to us. However, continuous examinations are going on because one can never be safe enough.
As for the case with the Hong Kong Pomeranian, the reports say that the pet might just be the passive carrier of the virus— meaning, a living creature that can spread the virus without it being infected itself. It is possible because of the existence of canine coronavirus in certain species.
Borderline: Your pet, therefore, could be the carrier of the virus for a short amount of time. The virus itself can be passed onto you if you pet them in due course of time.
It is very similar to the case if you sneeze or cough on a telephone and someone else uses it afterward; the telephone would not be infected, but it still contracts the virus and has the potential to spread it too.
Thus if you perform a test on your mate, they might come out as “weakly positive”; not because they are infected, but because they are passive receptors.
Can Pets Become Ill Due to the Canine Coronavirus?
Unlike us, the would not feel under the weather. That does not mean, however, that they can not procure a different species of the virus (i.e. canine coronavirus.) But that really has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Research on the same states that dogs can be infected with two kinds of canine coronavirus; the one that may cause diarrhea, and the other which might result in some respiratory symptoms–nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing.
And for the cats, it is almost the same. They can acquire diarrhea and respiratory problems. But it is interesting to know that the chances of a feline developing a serious canine coronavirus are far less than that of a dog.
Here’s a little clip from The Guardian addressing the canine coronavirus.
What Precaution Must a Pet Owners Take During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
It was everywhere in the news when thousands of cats and dogs were disowned by their owners immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak. Many were killed. But it had nothing to do with the canine coronavirus.
Nonetheless, one must refrain from such actions due to misinformation. World Organization for Animal Health has issued information on how there is no threat to humans by their pets.
But because they can be passive carriers, like almost everything around us, it is prudent to maintain similar hygienic measures for your pets as you are giving to yourself. Social distancing is applicable to them too. Pets are a part of a family and there is no reason they should be neglected in the time of the pandemic.
Having a plan to fall back on, therefore, seems like a judicious thing to do.
If you are hoarding food for yourself, there is no reason your pets must be devoid. So make sure they have sufficient supplies too.
Basically, maintaining basic hygiene, especially for those who can not do it themselves is not too much to ask.
P.S. if you are still not fully aware of how the novel coronavirus works for human beings, you should look out for the possible symptoms of Coronavirus/ COVID-19. This is important so that you can know that Why Are You Likely to Develop the Corona Virus?
It is also essential to have full knowledge of this pandemic so that you do not falter. However, there has been a lot of misconceptions brewing over the internet. Here’s what you can read: The 5 Surprising Coronavirus Edition Of What’s True and What’s Not
Oftentimes, the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 has been mistaken for common flu. Once you are well-equipped with the knowledge about what coronavirus is all about, make sure to Not Mistake Coronavirus/ COVID-19 For Common Flu. Practice whatever you can to Keep Coronavirus At Bay.
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