You may have heard about how people in China are abandoning their pets, as they’re worried that they may be carriers of the highly contagious COVID-19. But most of us pet parents would give up humans before we’d ever give up our beloved pets. Here are the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 is one type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses have been around for a long time, probably for longer than influenza, estimated at around 8000 BCE.
Yes, there are feline and canine coronaviruses, but these are not the same as the COVID-19. In fact, everyone should be calling the recent outbreak “COVID-19” and not “coronavirus” in order to avoid confusion.
Scientists and doctors around the world have been studying this disease, including the CDC and WHO. Thus far, there is no evidence at all that pets can spread COVID-19, or that they can catch it from humans.
Just like humans can’t catch the feline or canine coronaviruses, they can’t catch ours.
Interestingly, the original outbreak in China is called 2019-nCoV, and the current version we’re now dealing with is called SARS-CoV-2. It’s believed that the newer strain has become less deadly than the initial virus, and experts believe it will eventually dissipate into a less deadly virus, much like our common colds today.
Where some of the confusion coming from involves that one case in China where a patient’s dog was tested. They swabbed his mucous membranes and found COVID-19 in him. (The dog never came down with it.) However, when you consider the main mode of transmission – the virus floating on water vapor through the air, then yes, some may fall or get into your pet’s nose.
However, it’ll eventually be broken down by the pet’s immune system and rendered harmless.
Perhaps the main concern is that if a sick person touches or hugs their dog, then another member of the household touches that pet, that they can get the COVID-19. There is really a slim chance that will happen. For one, humans are the main culprits in spreading the virus, either through the air or from touching surfaces that others will touch.
A virus can live on hard metal or plastic surface for about three hours. Pets are warm and have soft fur or hair. The virus isn’t going to be able to survive for any length of time on their fur or hair.
According to WHO, “The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. There are no evidence pets can spread the disease, nor is there a need to take measures against them.”
If you’re really concerned, what you should be doing is practicing social distancing from other humans.
Other than that, you really don’t have to do anything for your pet. And during these times, rescue dog and cat organizations are finding that they need more foster parents than ever, so if you are feeling a bit lonely at home, why not find out how to get a companion animal during this time?