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Coronavirus in Dogs: Who is at Risk?

There has undoubtedly been a lot of talk and concern about the coronavirus. In the last week, there has been a concern in particular when it comes to our furry friends. Could your dog be susceptible to the coronavirus? Can you catch the coronavirus from your pet? At Paws in Crown, we feel the need to inform our readers about the current global concern with human and pet health and wellness.

On February 28th global news outlets reported that the 2019 novel coronavirus was potentially zoonotic. Meaning the virus could spread from animal to human. Reports were made after a dog from Tai Hang China tested positive for the coronavirus, samples were taken from the oral and nasal cavities.

This caused panic amongst people all over the world. Animal welfare professionals have asked that the general public educate themselves fully on the topic, before making any harsh decisions concerning their house pets.

Learn how to protect yourself, and your pet from this coronavirus.

What is the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus is a type of virus that was discovered in the 1960s, shares the same family as the SARs virus, and causes serious respiratory tract infections. The origin of the virus appears to have come from bats.

The virus is transmitted from human to human by coughing or sneezing or by being near the affected.

The virus can live on surfaces for an undetermined amount of time and we do not have all the information available yet about the virus.

Doctors Recommend:

  • Frequent handwashing habits, with warm soapy water, and hand sanitizer
  • No unnecessary travel
  • Seek doctor care immediately if you become sick

Is the Coronavirus zoonotic?

Experts are saying that it is not likely the virus can be transmitted from infected people to animals or from infected animals to people. A virus or disease that can be transmitted between human and animal is called zoonotic. Leptospirosis is zoonotic; this new coronavirus is not zoonotic.

However, every precaution is being taken at this time. Patients in China who are confirmed sick with the coronavirus are urged to place their mammalian pets under veterinary care for observation and testing for 14 days.

So what happened when a dog tested positive for the coronavirus?

Here’s the scoop. 

The dog was living with a woman who has been tested positive for the coronavirus. She and her dog live in a densely populated city in China called Tai Hang China. This city is not only huge and full of people; it is also a port city, which means boats from all around the world transport cargo and more people. Geographically, the risk of the outbreak spreading is too high to not be cautious.

To be safe, the dog has been quarantined and placed under veterinarian care with the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD). The dog’s oral and nasal samples did test positive for the coronavirus, though experts do not yet know the accuracy of this test in dogs.

One thing is clear the dog is not infected with the virus. Dogs and cats do get coronaviruses, but there are vaccines available, and they are not the same virus as this current outbreak affecting humans. This current virus appears to live on the dog superficially and not internally.

We know that coronaviruses can live on surfaces and objects, and the common thought of the matter is this is how the virus could spread from animal to human. Not the fact that the animal is infected because it’s not. Rather it would be like touching a door handle after someone sneezed and touched it first. The virus just lives on the animal’s surface.

This is wonderful news for concerned pet parents to hear because that is a situation in which they can take precautions into their own hands.

Basic Instructions for Pet Parents to Follow 

The World Health Organization, or WHO, is asking pet parents to take just as much precaution with their pets as they do with themselves. This means regular hand washing for pet owners and their pets any time they are exposed to a public setting.

This can be as simple as using a mild soap and water wet wipe to wipe off the dog’s paw pads when returning home from a walk. Pet parents are advised to watch for skin irritation if they choose this method.

Furthermore, pet care professionals are not recommending trending face masks for dogs. Due to wildly different variations to a dog’s physical makeup, one size fits all facial masks has the potential to cause unnecessary stress. Especially for dogs that are considered to be brachiocephalic like pugs, English bulldogs, and boxers.

The restrictive facial masks have the potential to cause respiratory problems in the previously mentioned breeds. Veterinary care professionals mostly see these masks as a marketing tool based on fear with no real benefit to the animal or their human.

Going Forward

Veterinary care experts are recommending pet parents to be proactive in their pet’s care and safety as new developments happen. The best way to keep furkids happy and healthy is with regular veterinary care. Even if the pet is not showing signs and symptoms of an illness, an annual physical exam with your trusted veterinarian can help detect certain conditions and get proper treatment before there is a problem.

If your pet becomes sick, do not wait to take them to the veterinarian’s office. At this time, this particular coronavirus in question will not infect dogs and cats as was feared. However, if a pet comes into contact with a person who has positively contracted the virus, officials are recommending those animals be placed in quarantine under veterinary care for 14 days.

This PSA was brought to you thoughtfully by Paws in Crown.