With news reports surfacing of some pets testing positive for Covid-19, there is fear that animals could not only be carriers of the virus but also in danger of being infected by it.
“There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in animals and in all cases, it is likely that the transmission was human to animal,” the British Veterinary Association said in a statement Wednesday.
“There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners.”
The association said while dogs don’t show symptoms of the disease, cats can be clinically infected. This was based on a research by experts at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China, who said that chickens, pigs and ducks are also not likely to catch the virus.
A cat in Belgium tested positive for Covid-19 on March 18. The Veterinary Medicine Department of the University of Liège confirmed that the virus had been detected in the stools and vomits of a cat with clinical signs of digestive and respiratory disease. It had caught the virus from its infected owner.
The UK veterinary society had therefore issued guidelines for pet owners infected by the novel coronavirus.
“As a precaution for pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating, we are recommending that you keep your cats indoors, if possible, during that time,” BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said.
“We are not advising that all cats are kept indoors. Only cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.”
She added that the animal fur could carry the virus. Pet owners were advised to continue practising good hand hygiene.
“It is very important that people don’t panic about their pets,” Santos said. “There is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans.”