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Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

March 04, 2020 3 Comments

Can Dogs Become Infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

A pomeranian in Hong Kong recently made news after testing positive for the novel coronavirus that was first detected in China. The dog's owner had previously tested positive for COVID-19, and concerns quickly mounted that dogs may be a new source of infection.

Can domestic dogs catch and fall ill from the highly contagious respiratory virus circulating the globe? Can your four-legged best friend infect you with the virus? Here is everything you need to know.

Can my dog or cat infect me with COVID-19?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that there is no evidence dogs or cats are a source of COVID-19 infection. As of April 1, 2019, the CDC had not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Yes, the virus initially came from an animal source, but the CDC stresses that the novel coronavirus is currently being transmitted on a human-to-human level.

If dogs are not a likely source of infection of COVID-19, how did a pomeranian test positive for the virus?

The 17-year old pomeranian tested "weak positive" for COVID-19 after its owner received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in late February 2020. It was originally believed that this "weak positive" reading was due to traces of the virus on the dog's nose and mouth, although it was later determined the pomeranian did indeed have a low level coronavirus infection.

Per CNN, "experts from the University of Hong Kong, City University and the World Organisation for Animal Health had been consulted, and all 'unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.'"

Have any other pets tested positive for the virus?

In late March 2020, a pet cat in Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 despite showing no symptoms of illness. A cat in Belgium also recently tested positive for COVID-19 after its owner became infected with the virus. Both cats had no symptoms of illness, and no evidence suggests that the cats are able to pass on the virus to humans.

Experts continue to believe that the risk of COVID-19 infection in pets is low and, importantly, the risk of transmission from animal-to-human is very unlikely. Human-to-human transmission by far remains the greatest risk of infection.

Can dogs and cats be tested for COVID-19?

Yes, but the testing of pets is very limited right now and is only being done on a rare case-by-case basis. Routine testing of animals is not currently being done.

If I get sick with COVID-19, should I take any precautionary measures around my dog?

Although the CDC states dog-to-human transmission of COVID-19 has not been documented, it recommends avoiding close contact with your pet if you become infected with the virus. There are still a lot of unknowns about COVID-19, so the CDC recommends having a family or friend take care of your pet should you fall ill to the virus.

If you don't have assistance and need to care for your pet yourself, consider wearing a mask and practice frequent hand washing (warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds).

Additional resources





3 Responses

DJANGO
DJANGO

April 01, 2020

@MICHAEL Great question! Although tests are available for pet dogs and cats, routine testing is not currently being done. Testing of pets seems to be very limited and only done on a case-by-case basis. We’ve done a lot of reading on pets and COVID-19 and haven’t learned about any other animal testing. It is obviously possible it is happening somewhere, but we ourselves cannot find evidence of it.

With all that said, the CDC and other experts remain confident that the risk of animal-to-human transmission of COVID-19 is unfounded and negligible. They continue to stress that human-to-human physical contact is the greatest risk of infection.

Michael
Michael

March 31, 2020

Thank you for the straight forward information. Are dogs or other animals being tested to the extent that we know with a high rate of confidence that it is not a concern? Stay Safe!

NormanWilkes
NormanWilkes

March 09, 2020

Thanks for the information. This is a pandemic that we should be aware of!
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