By EMMA H. TOBIN – Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – Can Your Pet Get COVID-19?
Yes, pets and other animals can get the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but health officials say the risk of them passing it on to humans is small.
Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, otters, hyenas and white-tailed deer are among the animals that tested positive, in most cases after being infected by infected people.
While you don’t need to worry too much about your pets getting COVID-19, they should be concerned about getting it from you. People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets, farm animals, and wildlife, as well as with others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If you weren’t going to go near another person because you were sick or might be exposed, don’t go near another animal,” says Dr. Scott Weese from Ontario Veterinary College.
Not all infected pets get sick and serious illnesses are extremely rare. Pets who show symptoms usually get sick easily, the CDC says.
Some zoos in the U.S. and elsewhere have vaccinated big cats, primates, and other animals believed to be at risk of developing the virus through contact with humans.
This particular coronavirus has most likely jumped from animals to humans in the first place, causing a pandemic because the virus spreads so easily between humans. But it is not easily transmitted from animals to humans. According to Weese, minks are the only known animals that have caught the virus from humans and spread it again.
Three countries in northern Europe have recorded cases of the virus spreading from humans to mink on mink farms. The virus circulated among the animals before being passed back to the farm workers.
How easily animals can get and spread the virus could change with different variations, and the best way to keep the virus from spreading among animals is to control it among humans, Weese says.
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