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Covid-19 and Pets: What We Know So Far

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Covid-19 and pets

Just what do we know about COVID-19 and pets? That question is of major concern to the millions and millions of pet owners throughout the world who wish to keep this horrible virus from affecting their furry loved ones. If only it were as simple as getting your pet vaccinated! Unfortunately, this is a new threat we don't know a lot about. What we do know, however, can make a positive impact.

1. Coronavirus Is Believed to Have Started with Bats Before getting to the discussion about Coronavirus in dogs and cats, it's important to understand where the virus likely originated. Everything we know about previous outbreaks (MERS and SARS) points to horseshoe bats as the likely culprits. Therefore, we have some precedent that the virus can follow animals. As we progress, we'll talk more about the types of animals that are most susceptible. First, however, it's important to know about inter-species transmission. 2. People Can Spread Coronavirus to Animals Can animals transmit the Coronavirus? The fact bats have passed it along to humans answers this question with a resounding yes. However, humans are capable of passing it along as well, both to other humans and various species from the animal kingdom. In the United Kingdom, for instance, a pet cat became the first that we know of to be infected by its human owner. 3. Coronavirus Does Not Appear to Affect Animals As Severely As It Does Humans Cases of animal deaths due to COVID-19 are either nonexistent or too minuscule to report at this time. That tells animal lovers, thankfully, that their fur babies don't have as much to worry about as people. However, it's important to note that there hasn't been as much medical research into the overall effect of Coronavirus on animals. In other words, we don't yet have the full picture into how the virus affects pet health. 4. Animals May Carry the Virus but Their Role in the Spread Is Minimal Animals tend to get over Coronavirus with an easier effort than humans as seen in the comparative death toll mentioned above. Fortunately, that perceived lack of severity transfers to their role in the spread as well. 2 From what the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has put out, there is a very low risk of humans getting Coronavirus from animals. Unless a strain develops that targets animals more specifically, dogs, cats, and other four-legged or flying loved ones will fare better at avoiding the virus. 5. There Are Things You Can Do to Protect Your Pet from the Virus So yes, in summation, animals can carry the Coronavirus. However, there are things you can do to make sure they don't get them (and no, strapping a mask on your pet is not one of them). As with avoiding human-to-human transmission, isolation helps. It might be hard to keep Fido off you for 14 days, but it's a small price to pay to ensure the spread of COVID-19 stops. Understanding the Links Between COVID-19 and Pets Is Helpful to Prevention If you know how COVID-19 and pets interact, then you'll have the tools and the knowledge to protect your pets and your home from this dreaded virus. Don't take chances, though. If you suspect your pet may be infected, consider scheduling an appointment for a checkup today.


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