Just like in most species, dogs and cats have their own strains of coronavirus that can make them sick that CANNOT infect us. Recently, a dog in China tested as a ‘weak positive’ for the COVID-19 virus following close exposure to its sick owners. The dog showed no clinical signs associated with the disease. There was speculation that the dog was not truly infected and instead the positive test resulted from environmental contamination with the virus. However, this single dog been retested twice and all 3 times have resulted in a ‘weak positive’ result.

What does this mean? It means that the dog COULD have been infected with COVID-19 BUT the infection was most likely transmitted from the sick owners to the dog. There is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease and no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise welfare.

Can my pet get sick? There have been no other reports of companion animals (dogs/cats) testing positive with COVID-19 and this dog did not show any clinical signs of disease. More research needs to be done.

Can my pet spread the disease to people? Currently, there is NO evidence that dogs/cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans. All cases of COVID-19 so far have been transmitted human to human (except the initial jump that was suspected to be from bats). Just because an animal can test positive for an infection does not mean that the virus can actually replicate and/or be transmitted.

What precautionary measures should be taken? Since there is little evidence that our dogs and cats play a significant role in the human disease, preventive measures do not need to be taken UNLESS you test positive for COVID-19. Positive humans are recommended to limit contact with animals/pets until more information is known about the virus. Just like in humans, putting a mask on your pet will NOT PREVENT them from being infected. Continuing to practice good general hygiene is crucial for prevention of the disease!

The World Health Organization (OIE) has been doing a great job of keeping us up-to-date on COVID-19 and is a great source to get accurate, reliable information about the current pandemic.

#cornovavirus #dogsandcats #covid19

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