Since the beginning of 2020 the epidemic of Coronavirus has been progressing worldwide and has caused great concern. We can wonder if our pets are also exposed to the disease, if they risk catching it, transmitting it… Is there a risk of transmission between humans and animals or Conversely ? We explain to you…
We must clearly distinguish the coronaviruses which belong to a family of viruses and of which there are many types for all species and the coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 which causes the disease Covid-19 which has spread on the globe in humans for some month.
Is a dog or cat at risk of getting a coronavirus in his life? Yes. This is a large family of viruses, dogs and cats can be infected by viruses of this family during their life with various symptoms (digestive, respiratory but also general). For example, cats can develop a serious form of a disease caused by a mutated feline coronavirus: FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), but it is not transmissible to humans.
The coronaviruses of our dogs, cats and even farm animals (pigs, etc.) are not transmissible to humans.
However, is there a risk of a dog or a cat catching the Covid-19 coronavirus? No. In any case, nothing currently proves it.
It is true that a dog tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus in Hong Kong, but this dog was not sick, he had no symptoms. Its owner was affected by the disease and it is possible that the dog was simply a passive healthy carrier, having licked its owner, inhaled secretions by sniffing, etc. This may explain why the virus was found in its nasal cavities.
To date, there is no concern for our pets about the fact that they might get the disease, or that they might pass it on to us.
You should know that a virus does not easily pass from one species to another, it must adapt. Some coronaviruses, those of bats for example seem to be able to change species, we are currently studying why and how.
For example, in its 20 years of existence, the virus responsible for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) has never been transmitted to animals living with us.
Today we must continue to be concerned about the inter-human transmission of this coronavirus and of course continue to wash our hands well after contact with animals, not because of the virus but to avoid other risks: transmission of bacteria in particular (salmonella, Escherichia coli) which can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Hand hygiene is really essential to prevent the transmission of diseases of any kind: flu, gastroenteritis, coronavirus, etc.