Can cats and dogs get coronavirus?
Can cats and dogs get coronavirus?
As a pet owner, you might be concerned about whether your cat or dog could fall ill because of Covid-19. We look at what’s known about pets in relation to the disease, to help give you peace of mind.
Pet owners and coronavirus
There have been reports worldwide of less than a handful of pets becoming infected with coronavirus. But experts believe it’s unlikely they could become seriously ill from the disease. There are still some sensible hygiene precautions you can take, to keep you and your companion safe. For example, thoroughly washing your hands before and after every walk.
Has a dog ever caught coronavirus?
According to the Hong Kong government, a Pomeranian and German Shepherd did test positive for the disease. Both are owned by people who had COVID-19.
Neither pet showed any symptoms of the disease and another, mixed-breed dog also belonging to the German Shepherd owner, has not tested positive.
Has a cat ever caught coronavirus?
Two cats in New York recently became mildly ill with coronavirus, according to American news media. Each cat had light respiratory symptoms. Officials from the US Department of Agriculture are expecting the cats to make complete recoveries.
There were also reports of a cat in Belgium testing positive for the virus. The owner had the illness and the cat reportedly became ill, but recovered.
There is no suggestion that pets can transmit the virus.
Can cats and dogs spread coronavirus to people?
The World Health Organisation has said that currently, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by a dog, cat or any companion pet.
And the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) says that currently, there’s no evidence that companion pets are spreading the illness themselves.
But it’s possible people could spread the virus to one another via pet fur. For example, someone with coronavirus could sneeze and touch their pet, then someone else could touch the animal in the same place and get the illness. It’s the same as if someone sneezed on a surface and someone else then touched that surface. You should always wash your hands before and after you touch your pets.
What if I have COVID-19?
To be on the safe side, people with coronavirus are advised to minimise contact with their pets.
If you are a pet owner who has coronavirus, you should:
- wash your hands before and after you touch your pets or their belongings
- keep your cats indoors
- call your vet for advice if your pet shows any symptoms of the illness or needs treatment for anything else – don’t take them to the surgery
- You could also check with your pet insurance provider to see if you could qualify for cover under Emergency boarding kennel/cattery. If so, this could be another way of helping to minimise contact with your pet.
What is feline coronavirus?
Feline coronavirus or FCov has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a common virus in cats and doesn’t affect people or other types of animals.
Can I still take my pet to the vet?
The British Veterinary Association has advised all its members to work from home if possible. It has also said vet practices must provide only emergency care in person, as well as fulfilling urgent prescriptions. If your pet needs treatment, call the vet first. Remember, a lot of pet insurance products provide you with the use of free vet advice helplines that you could use, too.
What precautions can I take?
Now, as always, it’s advisable to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. Also, don’t let your pet lick your face. And when you’re walking your dog, make sure you follow social distancing guidelines.
Compare pet insurance
Pet insurance could help cover the cost of fees if your cat or dog needs vet treatment for injuries or illness. See what pet insurance can cover.
It could also help with emergency boarding kennel and cattery costs, and it could give you access to free vet advice helplines.
Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 2nd April 2020, but, because of the impact of COVID-19, things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated. But check with your insurance provider or potential provider directly, to confirm any details.
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