The latest information as of 13/03/2020
If The Virus Originated From A Mammal Does That Mean My Pet Is At Risk?
Dogs and cats do get Coronaviruses, and these are well-known to vets. The most common Coronavirus in dogs causes diarrhoea and that in Cats causes Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Both these are Alpha Coronaviruses.
COVID-19 is suspected to have originated from bats and is a Beta Coronavirus. It is more similarly related to previous Coronaviruses seen in people, also Beta Coronaviruses. There is a coronavirus vaccine for dogs available in some countries. This is NOT for COVID-19, it is for an enteric alpha coronavirus. It is not licensed for prevention of COVID-19 and there is no evidence to support its use. It is not licensed for such use.
There is currently NO EVIDENCE that pets can be a source of infection for people or other animals.
Advice is the same as ever – strict hand hygiene is important to prevent contracting any infection from your pet, most notably E Coli and Salmonella.
What Should I Do If My pet Has Been In Contact With Someone Who Has Been Diagnosed With COVID-19?
Don’t panic, there is no evidence that your pet is at risk.
If your pet develops any unexplained symptoms, contact the Public Health Official looking after the person (with COVID-19) and phone your vet for advice.
I Heard That COVID-19 Had Been Isolated From A dog In China?
There was one dog (in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19) that had a very weak positive result for the virus. The dog was not ill. There was NO EVIDENCE that the virus had infected and replicated within the dog. It is suspected that it was just from contact with a surface or the person and therefore present on the surface of the dog’s nose. In the same way the virus could be isolated from a dirty tissue.
What More Can I Do?
- Stay Informed from a reliable source e.g. WHO, WSAVA, BSAVA
- Protect others and yourself by exercising good hand hygiene
- Stay away from others if you think you have symptoms
- Seek advice by telephone first
(Information taken from WSAVA latest guidelines as of 12/03/2020)