Advertisement

Are our dogs immune to coronavirus?

Are our dogs immune to coronavirus?
Getty Images

As confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to grow across the world, it’s natural to worry, at least a little, about whether you and your family will stay healthy. And, of course, that includes thinking about the possibility of coronavirus in dogs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can sicken people or animals. Coronaviruses are responsible for the common cold, as well as the SARS outbreak in 2003. This newest strain of coronavirus is known as COVID-19.

But do you really need to be as concerned about your retriever as you are about your kids? Here are answers to the questions about canine coronavirus that dog parents have been asking.

Should I worry about the spread of the new coronavirus in dogs?

Should I worry about the spread of the new coronavirus in dogs?
Shutterstock

No, at least not at this time. Both WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other pets or people.

Available data on recent dog illnesses in the United States, for example, seems to confirm that. Pet medical insurance company Trupanion monitors such data on a “very granular” level daily, and by breed and location, explains Mary Rothlisberger, vice president of analytics. “We are on top of any health-related trends that might be out of the norm. We have not seen any increases or changes in the frequency of illnesses that would appear unusual,” she says.

But what about that dog in Hong Kong?

But what about that dog in Hong Kong?
Getty Images

Yes, one older male dog in Hong Kong tested as “weakly positive” for the virus in late February, although WHO officials recently reported that the dog never showed symptoms and is doing fine. His owner had contracted COVID-19. To date, he is the only dog in the world to have tested positive for canine coronavirus.

“The dog had low levels of the virus in its nose and mouth…and could have picked it up from the patient with the virus—or from surfaces he had touched,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH and founder of concierge practice, Animal Acupuncture in New York City, further explains. “Since dogs’ noses and mouths come in contact with just about everything, it is hard to say.” WHO will continue to study the situation, but for now maintains there is no evidence that household pets can transmit the new coronavirus.

Aren’t there other types of coronavirus in dogs?

Aren’t there other types of coronavirus in dogs?
Getty Images

“The most common strains of coronavirus that affect dogs are canine enteric coronavirus, or CECoV, and canine respiratory coronavirus, known as CRCoV, neither of which can be transmitted to humans,” says veterinarian Jamie Richardson. CECoV causes mild gastrointestinal symptoms.

Signs of a CRCoV infection, better known as kennel cough, are cough, fever, or breathing difficulties, says veterinarian Sabrina Kuo.

“Survival rates of both [types of canine coronavirus] are high,” says Dr Richardson. “Almost always, the symptoms of these two strains are mild and pets typically recover on their own.” But as with most other infections, complications can crop up for pets with other underlying health conditions and the very young and very old.

It’s always smart to be aware of these signs your dog may be sick.

 

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus in dogs?

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus in dogs?

Since there are no actual cases of canine COVID-19, it is hard to say what the symptoms would be like, asserts Dr Barrack. “If you have a pet that becomes sick after contact with people infected by COVID-19, it is important to contact your veterinarian, but remember it is highly unlikely that a dog, or a cat, could be infected,” she adds.

What precautions against canine coronavirus can I take, just in case?

What precautions against canine coronavirus can I take, just in case?

In the unlikely event you or someone in your household does contract COVID-19, the CDC urges avoiding contact with your dog, including petting, being licked, kissing, and sharing food.

WHO recommends always washing your hands after playing with or snuggling your dog. COVID-19 aside, salmonella and E.coli can easily pass between pets and their people. And if your dog is sick, “Keep her home and away from dog parks, groomers, and playgroups to limit the spread to other dogs,” says Dr Richardson.

“There is no need to panic,” concludes Dr Kuo. “The veterinary community is heavily involved with understanding this rapidly evolving situation and how it affects our pets.”

Follow these trusted tips to help your dog live a long and healthy life.

Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!

Source: RD.com

Advertisement

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us:

Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team