Can My Pet Get the SARS Virus and Develop the Covid-19 Dis-ease?
Nowadays, veterinarians are often asked whether pets can get Covid-19. The short answer is yes, they can contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, so far none have developed serious symptoms or died of Covid-19. Regardless, there are still some precautions to take if you are sick.
So far, all the animals who have tested positive for SARS have been in contact with an infected guardian. It’s therefore best to minimize contact with your pet(s) if you’re sick or have tested positive.
Ask someone else in your home to be the primary caregiver for your pet for two weeks. If you live alone, you can reduce the chance of your spreading the virus to your pet by using a few simple steps:
- Avoid face-to-face contact with your pet and try to avoid coughing or sneezing on or near them.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before contacting your pet, and use a fan to keep the air circulating to reduce viral exposure when you are near.
To help you recover as quickly as possible from viral-associated symptoms, it’s very helpful to still have the comfort and healing support your pet can give you. Whenever possible, interact with your pet outside, where the fresh air and natural ventilation decrease risk of transmission.
Can Pets Give SARS to Each Other?
Although it’s possible that pets can transmit the virus to each other, it hasn’t been proven. Whether this occurs depends on the amount of viral shedding, which determines how much of the virus they can spread.
The quantity of virus shed is like the dose of a drug. The higher the “dose” of virus, the more likely an exposed pet will get sick from it. This is like the increasing chance of side effects from higher doses of a medication. This viral dose relationship is also true for human-to-human as well as for human-to-pet transmission.
Any living being’s immune system will get overwhelmed if there are too many viral particles to guard against.
Can I Get Covid-19 From My Pet?
Despite taking every precaution, you may still be wondering if an infected pet can transmit Covid-19 to you. Fortunately, there’s been no evidence of animal-to-human transmission.
Pet parents are starting to socialize and dogs are playing with their friends again. Gradually increasing exposure and developing natural “herd immunity” is very important this summer and fall. In all circumstances, follow the public health guidelines for social distancing, wearing a mask when you’re out, and not touching your face until you’ve sanitized or thoroughly washed your hands.
In addition to avoiding the virus, there’s much more you can do for yourself and your pet! In the coming short blogs and a series of video interviews with scientists and pet professionals, we’ll explore what these are, why they work, how to use them to help keep you healthy.