The Coronavirus: is it dangerous for cats and dogs?
The world is under the spell of the Coronavirus. Naturally, the question now also arises as to whether this coronavirus is dangerous for our dogs, cats and other pets. Are animals susceptible to the virus? And are pets able to infect humans? Read more about this in the following blog article.
Is it possible for dogs and cats to get ill due to the coronavirus?
To the best of our knowledge, animals cannot become ill as a result of the coronavirus. There are many different types of coronaviruses. These viruses may also occur in various species of animals. However, there is currently no scientific evidence that the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 in humans, can infect cats and dogs and make them ill.
On the 27th of March, a cat of an infected person tested positive for the coronavirus in Belgium. This cat had similar complaints as people whom are infected. The 2 dogs in Hong Kong that tested positive for the coronavirus showed no symptoms. For the moment they appear to be individual cases.
Are cats and dogs capable of spreading the new coronavirus?
There is no indication that pets are capable of spreading the coronavirus. Dogs and cats are therefore not a source of infection for the time being. It appears that the virus only passes from humans to humans.
What do I need to do if my animal has been in contact with an infected individual?
There is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether dogs and cats can become contaminated or ill from the new coronavirus. In Belgium it has recently been demonstrated that an infected person has contaminated their cat with the new coronavirus. Transmission of the disease to animals seems to be possible in case of intensive contact. If your animal gets ill after contact with an infected individual, please contact your veterinarian. Also, clearly indicate that your animal has been in contact with an infected person, so that your vet can respond to this with possible isolation of your dog or cat.
The new coronavirus appears to spread only from human to human. Therefore, if your dog or cat has been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, but does not become ill itself, there is no reason to assume that your pet will be able to transmit the virus.
Should you avoid contact with your dog or cat when you are infected with COVID-19?
Despite the fact that we think that animals cannot get ill from the new coronavirus and that dogs and cats would not transmit the virus either, it is recommended to limit contact with animals. This means no stroking, no cuddling and keeping 1.5 metres of distance. Wash your hands before and after contact with your pet and wear a face mask. It is advisable to have your animals cared for by someone else.
Source: KNMvD, LICG, Universiteit Utrecht