The coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe and infected millions of people since the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan last December. It is a confusing time for the world right now and as a pet owner you may also be concerned about what this means for your furry companion. While there have been a few cases of pets testing positive after coming into contact with people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, the general consensus among experts is that they are isolated cases and there is no evidence at the moment that pets can spread the disease to humans.
Hong Kong pet owners were all understandably worried when a Pomeranian in the city became the first dog in the world to test positive for the virus. Outside of Hong Kong, we’ve heard about the tiger in a New York zoo developing a dry cough and later testing positive, and a cat in Belgium developed COVID-19 symptoms. However, in all the reported cases, it appears that the animals caught the virus from their infected owners, and for the tiger, from a zoo employee. Vets and authorities are saying that there is no cause for alarm.
So what should you do amid this uncertain period if you have a companion pet at home? According to the Hong Kong Veterinary Association, pet owners can take hygiene precautions just as they would themselves or when caring for another family member, such as washing hands before and after interacting with pets. When taking dogs on walks, avoid crowded places and keep a distance from others. They don’t need to wear face masks – it not only doesn’t help, it can cause breathing problems for your pet.
So there is no confusion, there are two strains types of canine coronavirus that can cause dogs to fall ill, but they are different than the virus that causes COVID-19 and cannot be passed on to humans. The new coronavirus is causing so many sicknesses and deaths in the world right now is a new strain that researchers are still investigating and is believed to have likely originated from bats.
There is still much we don’t know about the virus, so in the meantime be vigilant about personal hygiene and keep an eye out for the latest information from the government and experts. The World Organization for Animal Health reminds us that “there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.” Just as we wouldn’t abandon our friends and family members because they are sick, we should stick by our loyal companion’s side no matter what happens.
Just to drive the point home, it seems that the chances for pets catching the coronavirus is very slim. But we are facing a rapidly evolving situation as scientists and health authorities learn more about this virus. To give pet parents a little peace of mind in this time of stress, Pawfect Care will take care of COVID-19-related medical costs for our insured pets.