Since you cannot get more shock value than a tiger case, I thought now would be a good time to go over some of the latest information on COVID-19. Please keep in mind this a developing situation so for the most up to date information, you can link here to the CDC FAQ .
Risks of animals spreading COVID-19 to people
The original outbreak in Wuhan is suspected to have come from a live animal market and mutated to a form (SARS-CoV-2) now spreading from person to person; mutation of this kind is rare.
The virus spreads from respiratory droplets from human to human. There is no evidence that a person has ever gotten this from a pet. ZERO. 1.26 million people have tested positive in the world and 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 tiger.
Risk of people spreading COVID-19 to pets
First, let us remember what I just said above – no evidence of pet to human transmission exists at this point. Also, Infection does not mean infectious – so let’s look at what we know today.
- A leading reference lab for animals, IDEXX, announced that the company has seen no positive results in pets to date of SARS-CoV-2 in the US. They tested thousands of both canine and feline specimens. IDEXX COVID-19 .
- There was evidence of two positive dogs in Hong Kong; one cat in Belgium (unclear if this was the owner or the cats positive sample) and one in Hong Kong; you can find information here.
- In two separate, still unverified studies, a small number of cats in Wuhan were positive; it seemed those with contact to positive owners tested higher and it is unclear if cats were sick. Worms and Germs Blog. The second study was by experimental infection, and the AVMA made a statement that these unverified studies are not reliable at this point.
- Big cats, are believed to have been positive with a tiger testing positive at the Bronx zoo; it is believed that a zookeeper shedding the virus infected the cat that is in close proximity to the other cats. All cats with respiratory signs are expected to recover. More information here.
There is no evidence that companion animals can pass the virus back to the owners. If you are NOT sick you can continue interacting with your pets as usual (AVMA statement). If you are sick, then it is recommended not to room in with your pets. Not because they are a threat to you, but out of caution, because you are potentially a threat to them. If you have no one to care for your pets and you are sick, continue regular hygiene including handwashing and wearing a mask when handling food for them.
Please do not rehome pets out of fear – they provide tremendous support and companionship to us in this particularly stressful and uncertain time. Stay safe everyone, and of course THANK YOU for continuing to support our clinic with your kind words, referrals and allowing us to care for your beloved furry family members.
If you need to book an appointment you can do so on the website request appointment or by calling us at 949-766-4449 during normal business hours.
Dr. Jenna Cooper
Banderas Pet Hospital