The answers to this question are not quite clear. The scientific community is not quite sure. As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe and has been currently spotted on the West coast of the U.S., it is natural to worry about our own safety —as well as that of our family and friends.
But what about our four-legged furry friends? Do we also need to start worrying about our cats and dogs?
This question has been plaguing a lot of pet owners, particularly those with a full household of animals. After all don't we now consider our dogs and cats as members of the family?
Human-to-pet virus transmission has happened. It's called 'reverse zoonosis,' and there are a number of examples. One was reported in 2009. During the H1N1 influenza pandemic, humans passed the deadly swine flu virus to household pets, including "at least three dogs, five cats and a handful of ferrets," said Christiane V. Löhr, a veterinary pathologist at Oregon State University.
So what about the other way around: Pet-to-Human transmission?
There is some preliminary evidence that a transmission of coronavirus from an affected human to animal companion may have already occurred. The Hong Kong government released a report this week describing a dog that tested “weakly” positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The dog is currently being quarantined under veterinary surveillance while more testing is conducted.
Nonetheless, Lohr said the odds are against your dog or cat catching the coronavirus from you or someone else. But just to be safe, she recommends that pet owners who do come down with COVID-19 take the necessary precautions to protect their animals.
“If you isolate yourself from people, you should isolate yourself from your pets as well,” she said. “That is just the sensible approach,” she added.
Jump from Species to Species?
“The tendency for coronaviruses to jump species is an ongoing occurrence and it is possible that a coronavirus from a common pet species such as a cat or dog may enter humans and cause disease sometime in the future,” said Dr. Niels Pedersen from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Centers for Disease Control weighs in . . .
The Centers for Disease Control noted that while the virus most likely came from "an animal source," there is no evidence to suggest "pets in the U.S. might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus."
The CDC is in the "No-Camp." They reported it has not received any reports of animals becoming sick with the virus and that there is no evidence to suggest pets can spread it.
Still, the organization does recommend washing hands with warm water and soap or a hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) after coming in contact with an animal to minimize the passage of germs.
So, these mixed reports are enough to be cautious and take the necessary steps to protect your family members —including your dogs and cats.
Kidd Millenium reports ...
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Primary Source: Daily News