With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, we received a few concerned messages from pet-parents.
Can my dog or my cat get infected too?
Our first thought was…’Oh my dog’ maybe…? So we immediately called our Vet, John to find out more and learned that the Convid-19 does not effect pets. Ahhhhh, what a relief.
But then, what about that doggie-news from China?
In case you haven’t seen it yet, just last week it was rather big NEWS, when a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for Corona.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead of WHO’s emergencies program, said the canine tested “weakly positive,” meaning low levels of the virus were found.
But Hong Kong scientists aren’t sure if the dog was actually infected or if it just picked up the virus from a contaminated surface.
“We’re trying to analyse the results, to understand what further testing the scientists are doing and to understand how they are going to care for these animals,” Kerkhove told during a press conference at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.
The dog belongs to a 60-year-old woman who developed symptoms on Feb. 12 and later tested positive. However, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said her dog doesn’t have any symptoms. Since then the poor doggie has been put under quarantine at a facility at a port and will be returned to his mommy once it tests negative for the virus.
As a precaution, the Hong Kong government said it would quarantine all cats, dogs and other domesticated animals in a holding facility if their pawrents test positive and were quarantined for COVID-19.
Although the virus seems to have emerged from an animal, most likely a bat, there is currently no evidence that suggests pets can be infected with the coronavirus. Despite this, Li Lanjuan, an epidemiologist and representative of China’s National Health Commission cautioned pet owners to be vigilant about their own health and the health of their pets: “If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they might have the chance to carry the virus. And by then, pets need to be isolated.” (in China only for now)
So how can pawrents protect from coronavirus?
For now, pet owners should just follow normal health precautions such as washing their hands with soap and water after contact with their fur-kids. If you know people that are infected, keep away until the virus has passed.
And no, dogs do not need a face mask to protect themselves against the new coronavirus.
(and surely they would not appreciate wearing it…)
Photo-credit dogs wearing mask: Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images