Is There a Risk of Pets Spreading COVID-19?


In the wake of COVID-19, people are finding themselves with many unanswered questions. There is still a lot of uncertainty over exactly how the virus is spreading. There are no medicines to cure the virus, so people all over the world are doing whatever they can to treat the virus. There are several medicines that are under trial, along with many other alternative medicines and practices.

Similarly, while experts have concluded that the virus is contagious and can be spread through contact and respiratory droplets, there is still a lot of speculation about whether the virus can spread between species. This virus is believed to have originated in a bat, and then transmitted to humans. As per its history, there are chances of the virus jumping from species to species. People with pets are worried about their safety and their animals’ safety, not knowing for certain whether they can transmit the virus to their pets or vice versa.

Can you transmit the virus to your pets?

According to the information available now, it is possible for you to transfer the virus to your pets, but the chances of that happening are very rare. There have been some cases reported where the virus has been reported in pet animals. Those cases are said to be linked with very close contact between an infected human and the pet. Due to such cases, patients who have contracted the virus are told to isolate themselves not only from other family members but also their companion animals. Moreover, experts have suggested that animals whose owners have contracted the virus should not be allowed to meet with other animals and should remain indoors for the time being. In research conducted on animals with infected owners, the results showed that the pets had produced antibodies that helped them fight the virus.

Experts have suggested that if you have somehow contracted the virus you must maintain social distance not just from other people but from the animals too. Try to quarantine yourself in a place where your animals are separate from you. Try not to feed them on your own and ask another family member to take care of them while you are quarantined. If you cannot find anyone to fend for your animals then you can take preventive measures and use things such as masks and gloves to tend to the needs of your animals. Sanitize your hands and other clothing before you come close to your animals to minimalize the chances of your pets of contracting the virus.

Many of us are regularly in close contact with our animals. But is this risky behavior in the time of COVID-19? Image credit Tom Britt, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Do animals experience the virus the same way humans do?

This is also a question that is widely asked by people with pets. They want to know how to care for their pets if they somehow contract the virus. Are they supposed to follow the same protocol? Or do they have to do something special? Cats are the most likely to be symptomatic, while research has shown that dogs are normally not as symptomatic as cats. The animal most likely to die from the virus are mink, who can transmit the virus to each other. Mink can also transmit it to humans, and there have been cases reported of this happening. Researchers have told people with pets to tread carefully, as the information is not complete and new discoveries keep coming in.

Can animals transmit the virus to humans?

This is a valid question, as many people take their pets out to walk, where they interact with other animals, and their chances of contracting the virus become much higher. Researchers have come to the conclusion that the chances of you getting the virus from your animals are very slim. However, they have not completely refuted the possibility of getting the virus from your pets. They have instructed people to be very conscious of hygiene. Keep washing your hands whenever they come in contact with your pet. Even if your pet does not have the virus inside their body, it is possible that they have the virus on their skin or under their nails.

Can you get your pet tested for COVID-19?

At the moment, there are not many facilities that are testing animals for the novel coronavirus. If you wish to get your pet tested, you have to follow a certain protocol. The protocol includes asking your veterinarian to write a report suggesting why it is important to get your pet tested. If the request is approved, only then you will be able to get your pet tested at a dedicated clinic.

Featured image: a woman in a mask walks her dog during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit Amaury Laporte, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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  1. The pets owner must quarantine their pets no need for walks,no need to allow them to play with other fellow animals. We have a cat and he likes to go outside and play with his friends but since 29th January he didn’t stepped outside we are giving him strict guard so that he can’t escape from home. We are doing this not only because we are worried to be effected by COVID-19 but also of losing him because in our eyes he is not a cat but our child. And I know same must be practiced by other pet owners who consider thier animals as thier children.

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