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Can my pet get corona? Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus

These past months have been all about the coronavirus. This virus is a zoonosis, a disease that gets passed from animals to humans. It is highly contagious and potentially dangerous. This raises a lot of questions among pet owners, such as ‘Can my pet get corona?’ We will tell you all about the virus and how it may affect you and your pet.

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus is also known as SARS-CoV-2. It is a contagious and potentially dangerous virus that can cause severe pneumonia, serious illness and even death. The severity of the disease varies from patient to patient. For more information on the coronavirus in humans, check out this page.

What are zoonoses?

The coronavirus is a zoonosis; a virus that gets passed from animals to humans. It isn’t exactly clear where the virus came from. This virus isn’t the only zoonosis around. There are countless examples, such as:

• Rabies (almost non-existent among pets in the UK. Vaccination isn’t a common practice, unless you’re about to travel abroad with your pet.)
• The hantavirus
• Lyme’s disease
• Q-fever
• Avian flu

Can my pet get corona?

There have been recorded cases of animals with the coronavirus, which includes the now culled Dutch mink farm population. But there have been some cases of dogs and cats with the virus as well. Their owners were infected too and it is likely that they infected their pets rather than the other way around. There are no known cases of dogs or cats infecting humans, and no indications that this is even possible. There are also no indications that dogs or cats are able to infect each other.

How do I know if my pet is healthy?

Knowing your pet’s behaviour is vital in determining whether your dog or cat is healthy. Behavioural changes could be indicative of an issue. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your pet is ill, let alone with the coronavirus specifically. We wrote two extensive blogs on how to know if your pet is healthy:

How to recognise a healthy cat?
How to recognise a healthy dog?

Animals dumped because of corona

There is no need to worry that you may catch the coronavirus from your dog or cat. This is extremely important! During the first wave, several rescue centres and shelters noticed a huge uptick in people who wanted to get rid of their pet, probably fearing the animal would infect them. There are no indications that this might actually happen.

Cuddle away

Generally speaking, you can cuddle away with your dog or cat without any concern. We do have some tips for you to take into account:

• If nobody in the household has any symptoms and the pet isn’t ill either, everything is fine and the pet can go outside as usual.

• If nobody in the household has any symptoms but the pet has fallen ill, it is most likely not the coronavirus. Your pet can go outside as usual but feel free to consult a vet for your peace of mind.

• If a member of the household is experiencing corona symptoms but the pet is healthy, there is a small chance that your pet may get infected. Get yourself tested and avoid intense contact with your pet just in case, until the results are in.

• If a member of the household is experiencing corona symptoms and the pet is ill, the chance of your pet having contracted the coronavirus is still slim. Just in case, refrain from visiting places where lots of animals get together and get yourself tested.

So much attention!

Work and other obligations used to keep us away from home quite a lot, but since the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been spending a lot more time at home. It takes some getting used to for ourselves as well as our pets. Try to maintain a good balance and do not start taking your dog on walks much more often or for much longer than usual. If you’d like to ramp it up, do it gradually. And make sure you give your pet all the space it needs to withdraw and relax.

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