Does the Coronavirus infect animals?

There are many different diseases that have the ability to make us sick. These diseases go by many names, including coronavirus. Coronaviruses have been around for a very long time, but chances are that you have only heard of them recently – something which has come about due to the current global situation.

 

Coronavirus isn’t a single disease. It actually refers to a large family of viruses, each with slightly different characteristics. Some of these affect humans, causing symptoms that aren’t dissimilar to that of the common cold. Others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as bats or cattle. The coronavirus that is causing the current pandemic is a specific variety of coronavirus known as COVID-19.
 

How is COVID-19 transmitted?


Studies have shown that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted between humans through respiratory droplets that are forced into the air as a result of coughing, sneezing, and even talking and exhaling. These droplets have the potential to land in the mouths or noses of nearby people, or they could be inhaled directly into the lungs. Although there is no known vaccine, there are things that can help protect yourself and others from the disease, including washing your hands properly and often, avoiding close contact with other people and applying social distancing, and covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when you are out in public areas.
 

Can coronavirus infect my pet?


There is every chance that animals can develop coronavirus. In fact, some types of coronavirus only affect animals. There have been cases of animals testing positive for COVID-19, but the disease isn’t thought to be a health threat to pets. Although the information we have about this disease is still developing, current studies show that domestic animals are not easily infected with the virus and those which have tested positive have largely not shown any symptoms or signs of illness. 
 

Can I get coronavirus from my pet?


Some coronaviruses are zoonotic. This means that they can be passed from an animal to a human and then spread between humans, but this is fairly unusual.
 

At the current time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the continued spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. This means that while we can’t say that it is impossible for coronavirus to be passed onto humans by animals, the risk of your pet passing any coronavirus, including COVID-19, is considered to be very low. In fact, the CDC recommends that if you or another human in your household becomes ill with coronavirus, you should isolate yourself from your pets if possible. This means finding someone else to take care of them if you can. If this isn’t realistic, be sure to remember to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
 

Social distancing with your pet


If you take your pet outside, you should still follow social distancing rules and make sure that they do too. This means not letting them off of the leash and keeping them at least 2 meters away from people and other animals as much as you can. Following social distancing guidelines is one of the best ways to keep both humans and animals safe from all coronaviruses.

 

It is important to bear in mind that the information and evidence around COVID-19 are still developing. Therefore, if you have any concerns about your pet, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our veterinary team who will do their best to assist you.

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