Coronavirus and Your Dog: What You Need to Know

Raising a Puppy

According to VetMed at the University of Illinois, to date, there isn’t any evidence that dogs can contract COVID-19. In addition, the WHO is currently advising the public that there isn’t any evidence that suggests that domesticated animals could be infected. Furthermore, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has found absolutely no evidence that dogs could be spreading the coronavirus or that they could get sick with it. Also, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is seconding that opinion and has stated that there’s a lack of evidence that either companion animals or pets could be spreading COVID-19.

Home-Quarantine

Dogs can’t get sick from COVID-19, however, they could serve as an infection conduit between people. A person infected with COVID-19 might sneeze or end up otherwise contaminating their dog and then if another individual touches that dog, they could contract the disease. However, veterinary experts are still believing that the risk of transmission is low. The virus is known for surviving much longer on hard surfaces, like metal and glass than on soft surfaces, like cardboard or a dog’s fur. For safety sake, however, dogs that live with sick people should be kept away from both other animals and people (home-quarantined), in the same way that individuals who live with anyone who is sick must be avoiding any contact with others.

Veterinary Test for COVID-19

Since March 15, 2020, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been capable of testing dogs for COVID-19 in pets. All test requests must be submitted by your vet, including the reason for the test. Any request is then sent to your state’s public health veterinarian and your state’s animal health officer for approval, which is on a case-by-case basis. If there is a positive result, those same officials have to be notified prior to the referring veterinarian’s notification. So, of course, the main question that dog owners are asking is why tests are available if dogs can’t actually catch the virus?

Future Testing

That’s a really good question and the answer is that, although all current data is suggesting that dogs can’t be infected with COVID-19, nor end up spreading it to other dogs and other people, researchers will start offering future testing for the purpose of monitoring the outbreak. Medical professionals and researchers still have a great deal to learn about the virus, therefore, it’s going to be important to start evaluating any results in the event that their understanding changes.

Another Expert Opinion

According to CNN, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases has stated that you don’t need to worry about your pets as the virus likes humans and current data shows it isn’t spreading among either farm animals or pets.

Hong Kong Panic

According to the North American Veterinary Community, panic started recently among dog owners when a 17-year-old Pom in China was tested (the results were “weakly” positive for the COVID-19 virus), was quarantined and released, dying only three days later. However, another dog that was living in the same home, tested negative during the quarantine period. Unfortunately people heard about it and the Internet exploded overnight with major concern from other worried dog owners.

No Autopsy Performed

The fact is that the weak positive may not have even been a true positive since the Pom also tested negative on several occasions and was never sick with the virus. .Officials can’t know exactly what caused the dog’s death because there was no autopsy, however, the dog was quite elderly with numerous underlying health conditions. Putting the incident in perspective, they deduced that there is no evidence currently indicating pets as a source of the virus for people, nor that the virus can cause the disease in pets. In fact, a recent test for the COVID-19 virus that was conducted by a veterinary diagnostic company and involved literally thousands of pets resulted in no positive results whatsoever. Therefore, they are still believing that the possibility of household pets contracting the virus is currently exceptionally low .

Protecting Your Pet

In the event that you are diagnosed with COVID-19, how can you protect your pet? This is a question that many pet owners have been asking. However, since pets are at minimal risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection, there really aren’t any specific steps that need to be taken for protecting them from it. On the other hand, there’s a slight possibility that your dog could have the virus on his or her fur in the event that they are living in an environment that contains large quantities of the virus. If so, your dog might be a source of coronavirus for other people, which naturally includes family members and close friends. Therefore, for the purpose of protecting yourself and other people, the CDC is recommending restricting contact with your pet if you’re sick with COVID-19 in the same way that you would be restricting contact with other people. This includes avoiding snuggling, kissing, or being licked, as well as sharing food. If you need to interact with your pet, then you should wash your hands both before and after, and wearing a face mask is a must as well.

Face Masks

Other pet owners have asked if their dog should wear a face mask when going out in public. The answer to that is “no” because a face mask could cause breathing issues and might not even be any protection from disease transmission. And, if you’re wondering is you should be wearing a face mask, the fact is that doing so won’t prevent either humans or animals from exposure to the virus. Masks should actually be used for preventing someone who is potentially infectious from causing the spread of the virus to others from the droplets in the air caused by talking, coughing, or sneezing.

Animal Origination

Others are curious about whether the COVID-19 originated from an animal. Current research is suggesting that horseshoe bats could be the reservoir species and the coronavirus originated from them. Prior coronavirus outbreaks among humans, as well as MERS and SARS, originated in bats and then passed through some other species, like camels and the palm civet.

Hug Your Dog

Since your dog is at minimal risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, there really aren’t any specific steps that you need to take for protecting him or her from infection. In fact, this is a time for hugging your pet but definitely not your human loved ones. So, keep the social distancing clearly focused on humans, and when you need to hug somebody, just hug your pet and it’ll be good for both of you!



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