Is your pet susceptible to COVID-19? A Veterinarian’ s view

As you know, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues to impact several countries around the world and pose a global health challenge. Cases of COVID-19 in countries continue to rise – including the increasing number of cases reported in different parts of India.

A recent report from Hong Kong stated that one of the pets of an infected person tested weakly positive for the virus, putting many pet owners in panic. They started reaching out to vets to get further information on actions that can be taken for the safety of family and pets. However, it was further reported by the Hong Kong officials that the dog has not shown any signs of respiratory or other such infections reported in man. In addition, WHO officials also confirmed that this pet is doing well and hasn’t developed any symptoms. It is unlikely that this pet can be infected with the human COVID-19.

Coronavirus belongs to the family Coronaviridae. The Coronavirus tends to be species specific – dogs and cats have their own version of the virus and are not affected by human viruses. Canine coronavirus, which can cause mild diarrhea and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), are both not associated with the current coronavirus outbreak. There is no evidence to date that pets can be actively infected with human COVID-19 or can be a source of infection to people. The experts of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association continue to recommend that good hygiene and proper hand wash should be practiced when handling pets, as well as keeping pets away from infected person. Seek veterinary care at the first sign of illness in an animal. Please look at the guidance from the OIE and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association to ensure updated information.

Can manufactured pet food carry Coronavirus?

It is highly unlikely that dry or canned pet foods are potential viral vectors. It’s important to note that the current coronavirus outbreak does not pose a food risk to humans or pets, either through packaging or in the food itself. The processing conditions involved in the production of our food products are sufficient to destroy the virus. It is safe to feed commercial pet food.

Can imported pet goods from regions where the disease has widely spread be a source of infection in humans?

Due to the transmission methods recorded thus far, and the relatively low environmental stability of viruses, it is unlikely that imported goods such as imported foods or consumer goods such as toys, tools, computers, clothes or shoes may be sources of an infection of Coronavirus, according to the current state of knowledge.

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