Many people have pets in their houses, living in close contact with them. Some people eat and sleep with their pets also. But nowadays when coronavirus pandemic has taken over the world, which is highly contagious, it is important to know either a pet can get infected or transmit coronavirus.
If you are comfortable with what is Coronavirus, then you’re ready to read further. Coronavirus belongs to the family of viruses called cornoviridae. There are different types of coronaviruses. Virus, that the world is facing in 2019, causes coronavirus is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Previously, in 2002-03, we discovered SARS. And then in 2012, researchers found Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS was transmitted through “Masked palm civet”, and MERS from Dromedary camels in the Middle East. Since SARS-COV-2 is from the same origin as SARS and MERS, scientists thought it could also transmit from an animal.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS TRANSMIT?
SARS-CoV-2 seems to have emerged from an animal source, but now it is spreading from person to person,. Respiratory droplets are the main source of spread; often when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to researches, a virus can infect animals and might not show its symptoms or transmission. The virus can remain silent in their body, but there is no information about either it transmits the virus in that phase or not.
HOW ANIMALS CAN BE A SOURCE OF INFECTION?
Researchers say that a pet could become a source of coronavirus transmission if someone touches them with contaminated hands. If a person who is suffering from coronavirus sneezes or coughs on the hand and touches the dog with the same hand. After that, if another person touches that dog, they can easily catch coronavirus. So it is necessary to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing and after touching any animal.
WHAT IS THE STORY OF THE DOG WHO DIED RECENTLY?
The pet owners became anxious when they got to know about the death of Pomeranian, a 17-year-old dog in China. The veteran tested this dog ‘weakly positive’ for coronavirus, having no symptoms and illness in quarantine, but it died after three days when he came out from quarantine. Experts say it maybe because he was already suffering from multiple health conditions and was elderly. The second dog in the same house was a negative Coronavirus. So they can not make the statement that the dog died because of coronavirus.
WHAT IF I AM INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS?
According to the Centre of disease control, there is no evidence of coronavirus transmission through animals, but if coronavirus infects you, you should avoid close contact with your pets. Do not kiss, snuggle them or share food with them. Ask anyone else in your household to take care of them and maintain a distance with them. Do not forget to wash your hands after touching your pets and wearing a face mask when interacting with them, if you are the only one to serve them.
CAN CANINE VACCINE PROTECT MY PET?
The canine coronavirus vaccine for dogs is to protect them from enteric coronavirus. These vaccines are not licensed to be used for protecting against respiratory infections. There is no evidence that vaccinating dogs with commercially available coronavirus vaccine will protect them from COVID-19, which causes respiratory illness.
In this hard time of self-solation, you can play and walk with your pets. It is good to relieve your stress and anxiety and it will let you feel calm and healthy but do not forget to take safety measures. If you have pets, keep them clean, bathe them regularly and always wash your hands after touching them. If you are having any symptoms like cough, breathing difficulty, fever, and sore throat, maintain a distance with them and isolate yourself. There is not enough information up til now to say whether Coronavirus spread through pets or not. But prevention is better than cure, so maintain yours and your pet’s hygiene to protect yourself from coronavirus. For further read, you check WHO’s FAQ on a similar subject here.