With the Facebook news feed filled with news of 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”.
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 (Including Other Domestic Animals) 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.
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.
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 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. But that really has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Research on the same states that dogs can be infected with two kinds of 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 coronavirus are far less than that of a dog.
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.
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.
Basically, maintaining basic hygiene, especially for those who can not do it themselves is not too much to ask.