Cat and dog owners are told not to panic after it is discovered that pets may have been infected with new and contagious variants of the coronavirus from their owners.
Many pet owners in France were dismayed by news from the UK that infected people may have spread the virus to pets, which then led to heart problems.
Research by the Pasteur Institute in France showed that the most important new variants can infect laboratory mice, which was not the case with the standard virus.
However, the researchers there said there was no evidence yet that infected mice could transmit the variants to uninfected mice or humans, or that wild mice were infected or could get the disease from humans.
The reports from England came from a veterinary center in Buckinghamshire that treated cats and dogs for myocarditis in January and February, after the new British variant was introduced.
The total number of conditions treated that affect the heart’s pumping ability and lead to abnormal rhythms was only 18 – but ten times what the center would normally see at this time of year.
In most cases, the owner had tested positive for Covid a few weeks before their pet became ill.
Many of the dogs and cats also tested positive. However, charities and veterinarians in France told The Connexion that there is no immediate cause for concern for pet owners, either for themselves or for their animals, on this side of the canal.
Dr. Marie-Odile Sutter, a veterinarian who practices in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, said: “No cat or dog has transmitted the virus to a human or to any other cat or dog.”
She said when the pandemic started a year ago she had many concerned customers reaching out to her for advice on whether to infect or be infected by their pets.
Some asked if they should shampoo their dogs after every walk, and one even asked if he should wash his pet with household bleach (eau de javel).
The inquiries didn’t take long, but Dr. Sutter said she expected the news from the UK would make her resume.
Mon Chien, Ma Ville, a dog owners association, said it wasn’t concerned about the latest news from the UK. For its members, pets are not a cause for concern about the spread of the virus.
Coordinator Christine d’Hauthuille said: “Dogs and cats are a great source of comfort in these troubled times.
“We didn’t wait for the government to say it was good for you to go outside. We always told our dog owners to get some fresh air.” Pet owners in France can also rest assured that animals infected with the new variant in the UK – with the exception of one cat – have recovered after treatment, as in most previous cases of animal infections.
Infected pets also all recovered in studies by researchers at the Texas A&M Veterinary School who have been visiting American Covid-19 sufferers since June last year to test their pets.
A statement said his researchers tested about 450 pets, 60 of whom showed symptoms. Less than a quarter of them had shown signs of the disease when their owner was diagnosed.
Typically, they had “symptoms of sneezing, coughing, and diarrhea and were less active than usual,” said the researchers.
“However, all animals with symptoms recovered without the need for veterinary care.” The CDC has stated that it may be advisable to practice distancing yourself from your pet, as you would with humans if you are infected.
However, it is said that the risk of humans getting the virus from pets appears to be small.
The disease is still mostly transmitted from person to person via airborne droplets, the body said.
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