There have been many questions arise about companion animals and COVID19.  You may have asked yourself:

  • Can my pet get it?
  • Can my pet pass it on to me?
  • Why am I hearing that a dog, some cats and a tiger tested positive?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), several dogs and cats (domestic cats and a tiger) in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19.  In addition, ferrets appear to be susceptible to the infection. In experimental conditions, both cats and ferrets were able to transmit infection to other animals of the same species, but there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to human and play a role in spreading COVID-19.

COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.  So far, these appear to be isolated cases, and there is no evidence that companion animals are playing a role in the spread of human disease.

According to the OiE (World Organization for Animal Health), an organization the WHO refers to on their website, preliminary findings from laboratory studies suggest that, of the animal species investigated so far, cats are the most susceptible species for COVID-19.  In a lab setting cats were able to transmit infection to other cats.  In a lab setting ferrets were able to transmit infection to other ferrets. Dogs appear to be susceptible to infection but appear to be less affected than ferrets or cats.

What precautionary measures should be taken when companion or other animals have close contact with humans sick or suspected with COVID-19?

It is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 and people who are at risk limit contact with companion and other animals. When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing after handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.

For more information on pets and other animals and COVID-19, go to:

WHO (World Health Organization) website at https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

OiE (World Organization for Animal Health) at https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/