Covid is common in domestic cats and dogs whose owners have the disease, new research suggests (Photo: Shutterstock)
Covid is common in domestic cats and dogs whose owners have the disease, new research suggests.
But how likely is it that dogs and cats will get Covid and what are the signs and symptoms of your pet with the virus?
Here’s what you need to know.
Can pets get Covid?
New research has found that Covid is common in domestic cats and dogs whose owners have the disease.
Researchers from Utrecht University sent a mobile veterinary clinic to households in the Netherlands that had tested positive for Covid at some point in the past 200 days.
Smears were then taken from cats and dogs in the household to test for signs of current infection.
Blood samples were also tested for antibodies that suggest previous exposure to Covid-19
Smears were taken from 310 pets in 196 households found to be infected in humans, with six cats and seven dogs giving positive PCR results and 54 animals testing positive for virus antibodies.
The study’s authors said there was no evidence of pet-to-owner transmission.
However, the researchers also said this was difficult to see while the coronavirus was still spreading easily between people.
What should i do if i have Covid?
Researchers on the study have said that if you have Covid-19, avoid contact with your pet whenever possible.
Dr. Els Broens from Utrecht University said: “When you have Covid, you should avoid contact with your cat or dog just like you would with other people.
“The main concern is not animal health, but the potential risk that pets act as reservoirs for the virus and reintroduce it into the human population.
“Fortunately, no animal-to-human transmission has been reported.
“Despite the relatively high prevalence of pets from COVID-19 positive households in this study, it seems unlikely that pets will play a role in the pandemic.”
Most infected pets were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms of Covid.
Eight cats and dogs that lived in the same homes as the pets that tested positive for the virus were also wiped a second time to check for transmission of the virus between pets, but none tested positive.
This indicated that the virus was not transmitted between pets that lived in close contact with one another.
In accordance with public health guidelines, you should:
Wash your hands before and after each contact with your pet, their food or litter. Do not share the food with your pet
There is currently no evidence that you need to wash your pets to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Phytosanitary Authority.
“If you are concerned about your pet because they have breathing or digestive problems and a fever, you should contact your veterinarian who will decide if tests are needed,” said Defra and the Animal and Phytosanitary Authority.
What are the symptoms of Covid in pets?
According to the PDSA, “most of the small numbers of animals that tested positive for Covid-19 either had no symptoms or had very mild symptoms.” These include:
– cough – sneezing – runny nose – watery eyes – vomiting or diarrhea – slight breathing difficulties – high temperature – decreased appetite
You should ask your veterinarian for advice if your pet has any of these symptoms, but also keep in mind that these are all common symptoms and are unlikely to be Covid-19 related.