HARRISBURG (KDKA) — After the news of a dog in China testing weak positive for the coronavirus, people have been on edge about their pets catching the virus and spreading it to other people and animals.
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) said, however, that there is no real need to worry.
“Right now, there is no scientific evidence that the COVID-19 virus can cause illness in your pets or serve as a mechanism of transmission to other people,” said Dr. Bryan Langlois, Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and Immediate Past-President of PVMA. “They have been able to isolate it in testing one dog in Hong Kong, but that does not really mean anything at this time other than they looked for it, and they found it.
There is no evidence it has caused any infection in any dog, cat, or horse at this time. There is also no evidence supporting that it can be spread from these animals to humans. It appears they tested for this more out of scientific curiosity than concern for possible spread. Many times, doctors and scientists find things they do not expect when testing both humans and animals, but they have no clinical significance.”
If your dog does appear sick in any way, Langlois and PVMA recommend taking him or her to the local veterinarian so that they can be treated for any possible infection, but the organization said it is unlikely that the pets are infected with COVID-19.
“These are still signs of a possible infection, just not the new Corona Virus. It is still very important to have your dog or cat seen for these signs to ensure they do not need to receive any treatment for other infections,” Langlois said.
“It is true animals can become infected with Corona Virus, but these are different strains of Corona that are unique to these animals. In fact, one form of Corona virus in cats can lead to the disease Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in cats. These are not the same strains of virus as COVID-19 and we want pet owners to understand this.”
PVMA continued by saying that pet-owners should keep up-to-date on new information about the coronavirus and follow standard hygenie practices after playing with pets to avoid spreading any kind of infection. Those looking for more information can read the American Veterinary Medical Association’s advice here.