I generally do not watch news stations but I am one of the millions of people that scroll through social media daily. I haven’t been able to go a day since at least January without hearing about the coronavirus, no doubt it is on everyone’s minds and now from watching the news, it’s all over there too.
While we are still learning about the impacts this virus has on the human population, many pet owners began to naturally start to worry about their pets – can our pets get the coronavirus?
Coronavirus in Animals
There are indeed cat and dog coronaviruses, one affecting the respiratory system and the other the digestive tract.
The respiratory virus is biologically related to the one found in cows according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. It is also related to a type of coronavirus that humans can get but one which is only similar to the common cold, NOT to be confused with the current coronavirus spreading so much concern – I want to be crystal clear about that. A vaccine does not exist for the canine respiratory version of the coronavirus, cats do not seem to be affected by a respiratory coronavirus.
The other type of coronavirus is related to intestinal issues in our dogs and cats and DOES have a vaccine, many pet care facilities require this vaccination.
Essentially what you should understand is that there are several animal and human coronaviruses but the version of this virus in the news is NOT THE SAME!
Cats and dogs both can contract types of coronaviruses that they can indeed spread, one being respiratory (canine’s only) the other being digestive. These are not known to pass onto humans and therefore are not considered zoonotic – an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from non-human animals to humans such as ebola.
Why the Same Name?
The different versions of this virus all carry the same name based on the virus’s shape and similar structure but NOT in its causes or symptoms. So the same name for a general virus shape is not the same virus. People with common cold-like symptoms can have coronavirus as can a dog with an upper respiratory issue but that does not mean they have THE coronavirus which is known as SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19).
Should You Be Concerned About Your Pets and Coronavirus?
I’ll let the Center for Disease Control Answer that, but I’ll sum it up for you by saying no.
“Q: Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?
A: While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can be infected with or spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.”
For more information about the impacts this is having on human health, please check out the CDC’s website.
Otherwise, no need to buy masks for your pets.
*The above-pictured Border Collie is our friend from American K9 Country in Amherst, NH. He’s a national agility champion, breed champion and certainly a champion model
To learn more about the diseases you can catch from your pets, we have a course for that – Pet First Aid & CPR.