Coronavirus – Can Our Dogs and Cats Infect Us?

Animal protection associations fear a wave of abandonment. Scientists are unanimous, however: our pets cannot transmit Coronavirus to us biologically.

Can our dogs and cats transmit the Covid-19 to us? According to the declarations of the World Organization for Animal Health: to date, there is no evidence to suggest that pets play a role in the spread of SARS-CoV -2.

What about the case of the dog tested positive in February in Hong Kong? This Loulou pomeranian died at the start of the week.  The death of this dog is not linked to the virus, Deputy director-general of the Health Agencies research and reference center. He was 17 years old, he suffered from heart and kidney failure and, the day before his death, the last tests carried out clearly demonstrated that he had not developed any antibodies and that he no longer harbored the virus. This little dog was not infected. Nor even a healthy carrier.

No biological transmission

If previous screening tests had revealed the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the explanation is simple:  His owner was infected with the virus and the dog was living in a highly contaminated environment. But even under these conditions, the samples turned out to be weakly positive.

As it stands, this case only demonstrates that the virus can survive a few days on the mucous membranes of a dog but without multiplying there. And that a person infected with Covid-19 cannot, an earlier, contaminate their animal.

Viruses do not cross interspecies barriers in a jiffy. Special receptors are needed to allow a given virus to enter an organism. There have been feline and canine coronaviruses for a long time. They are of the alpha type and not transmissible to humans. Covid-19 is a beta coronavirus for which our pets are not equipped with specific receptors.

They cannot, therefore, transmit the virus. The concern of animal owners is perfectly unjustified, continues the infectious disease specialist. The only way for a dog or cat to infect someone is for an infected person to sneeze or gag in the immediate vicinity of the animal and immediately rub it against the face of another healthy person. A scenario in which the animal would play the same role as any contaminated medium.

Classic hygiene

Hence the need to observe basic hygiene instructions. They are not unique to the epidemic. Never get licked the face by your pet and not sleep with your dog, Covid-19 or not.

Last clarification: you do not disinfect, from head to toe, your best friend when you return from a ride, but, on the other hand, you must wash your hands after playing with him or having stroked him. Caresses to be lavished without moderation: in this period of confinement, our animals remain our best allies to reduce stress.

Coronavirus: how to protect your animal?

While waiting to find out if this is the case for the new coronavirus, the WHO and the world veterinary organizations advise if you or your animal have not been in contact with a person affected by the disease or that you are not returning from China, to apply the same instructions as for all other cases of coronavirus or common transmissible bacteria:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with a pet;
  • Stay away from your animals if you are sick and wear a protective mask;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing;
  • Complete cooking of eggs and meat;
  • Avoid contact with sick people with degraded respiratory signs.

If the animal has been in contact with a person affected by 2019-nCoV?

According to a press release from the world veterinary organization, a priori no worry to have if the animal has not specifically rubbed shoulders with a patient affected by 2019 n-CoV. If ever this were the case: the specialists advise calling the veterinarian immediately, explaining the situation well and above all not moving the animal to a public place or to the veterinary clinic, “wait for the instructions from the veterinary team “.