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Can coronavirus affect pets?

Coronavirus is making headlines every day and we are getting a ton of questions about it and whether or not the coronavirus can affect pets. The epicenter of the virus outbreak was located in Wuhan, China, but has spread all over the world and Italy has recently experienced a very large outbreak. So can your pets get the coronavirus? It’s not clear yet. One dog in Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 but for now, it doesn’t seem to be affecting pets.

What is Coronavirus?

The coronavirus is said to be zoonotic. According to Medicinet.com

“Pertaining to a zoonosis: a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people or, more specifically, a disease that normally exists in animals but that can infect humans. There are multitudes of zoonotic diseases.”

How Are Zoonotic Diseases Like Coronavirus Spread?

And according to the CDC, zoonotic diseases can spread in a variety of ways: direct contact, indirect contact, vector-borne, food-borne, and waterborne.

Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Examples include petting or touching animals, and bites or scratches.

Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes.

Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect like a mosquito or a flea.

Foodborne: Each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Contaminated food can cause illness in people and animals, including pets.

Waterborne: Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal.

Examples of Zoonotic Diseases (include but are not limited to):

Animal flu
Bird flu
Bovine tuberculosis
Campylobacter infection
Cat scratch fever
Dengue fever
Encephalitis from ticks
Enzootic abortion
Fish tank granuloma
Hemorrhagic colitis
Hepatitis E
Hydatid disease
Listeria infection
Louping ill
Lyme disease
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
Orf infection
Parrot fever
Q fever
Rat-bite fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Salmonella and E. coli infections
Streptococcal sepsis
Swine flu
West Nile virus
Zoonotic diphtheria

Who is Most at Risk for Contracting a Zoonotic Disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, those most at risk include:

  • Children younger than 5
  • Adults older than 65
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant women

This current outbreak of COVID-19 appears to affect the elderly the most and those who are immunosuppressed.

How Do You Protect Yourself From Zoonotic Diseases?

  • Keep hands clean. Wash your handles carefully with soap in the presence of animals, whether or not you touched them. If soap isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Use products like a bug repellant to keep pests at bay.
  • Handle food safely—whether it’s for yourself or your pets.
  • Avoid bites and scratches from animals. If you are bitten or scratched, be sure to clean the wound and seek treatment from your doctor as soon as possible.

News about Coronoavirus and Pets

Here’s the latest news on the Coronavirus from other news outlets.

Wuhan's cat rescuer: the man saving pets abandoned during coronavirus outbreak - video

It is estimated that more than 30,000 pets have been left stranded after the Chinese government sealed off Wuhan following the coronavirus outbreak. In response, people trapped in Wuhan have been volunteering and checking in on the animals whose owners are stuck outside the city.

Coronavirus: Volunteers rush to help pets trapped in locked-down Wuhan

NANPING, China - They may have escaped Wuhan - the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic - but many people had to go without their pets and almost two weeks on, they fear for their animals which have been left without food and water.

COVID-19 Coronavirus and Your Pet

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms, including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They're usually spread through direct contact with an infected person.

Coronavirus UK: Cat owners urged to keep pets indoors - Can pets catch the coronavirus?

"Canine coronavirus, which can cause mild diarrhoea and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), are both alpha-coronaviruses." Until the appearance of COVID-19, formerly dubbed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), there were only six coronavirus strains known to infect humans with respiratory illnesses.

Cats in China are wearing face masks amid coronavirus crisis

It's mass hiss-teria. Cat owners in China have shared photos in social media of their felines sporting makeshift masks to ward off the deadly coronavirus. The World Health Organization has said there is no evidence to indicate that the virus - which has killed more than 1,300 people and infected well over 50,000 - can affect pets, the UK's Sun reported.