Isolate from your pets if you have coronavirus, experts warn

PET owners with coronavirus have been urged by an expert to isolate from them.

Cats and dogs can be infected with the virus, a study has found, and can catch it from their owners.

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In several cases pets that have tested positive have suffered with respiratory problems.

The Telegraph reports a new study found covid-19 in the blood of pets of owners who had symptoms or a diagnosis within a two week period.

Study co-author Dorothee Bienzle, Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada told people to stay away from their pets, as well as people, if infected.

She said: "There is sufficient evidence from multiple studies, including ours, to recommend that SARS-CoV-2 infected persons should isolate from people and animals.

"These preliminary results suggest that a substantial proportion of pets in households of persons with covid-19 become infected."

She said all the cats who had antibodies had “reported to have had respiratory and/or other illness by their owners around the time of the owner's Covid-19 infection." 

In July we told how a pet cat in England was infected with Covid-19 from its owners – the first known case in the UK.

The World Organisation for Animal Health said: "Now that Covid-19 virus infections are widely distributed in the human population there is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans.

KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE

"Several dogs and cats have tested positive to Covid-19 virus" as a result of contracting the disease from their owners, it added.

Researchers in China said that cats can be infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and can spread it to other cats, but dogs are not really susceptible to the infection.

Earlier this year we reported how cats and dogs can transmit coronavirus to humans via their fur, Sage experts warn.

Documents revealed that the risk of pets spreading Covid-19 to humans is considered "medium".

But experts cautioned there was little data available and for that reason there is a "high level of uncertainty".

What to do if you have coronavirus and pets:

  • Restrict contact with pets as a precautionary animal health measure until more information is known about the virus.
  • If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.
  • Keep cats indoors if possible and try to get someone else to exercise dogs, to reduce the likelihood of your pet spreading the disease – but there is no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of the disease.
  • If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet but call the practice for advice.
  • If your pet requires emergency treatment, call the practice for further advice. Do not take your pet to the surgery unless the vet instructs you to. You may need to arrange for someone else to transport your pet for treatment.

SAGE said there's a bigger risk of humans giving the virus to their pets in the first place.

However, Prof Bienzle said that since the virus “changes minimally or not at all after transmission from humans to animals, such reverse transmission may occur". 

She added: "Transmission from mink to humans has been reported on mink farms with a high proportion of infected animals maintained in close quarters and cared for by humans."

 

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