Two cats and a dog in the US have tested positive for COVID 19- what does this mean??

Two cats and a
dog in the US have tested positive for COVID 19-

what does this mean??

Last week, we learned that two cats in different areas of New
York tested positive for COVID 19 – then this week we learned that a pug in
North Carolina tested positive as well. Many people are understandably wondering
what this means for them and their pets. We’re here to help break down what we
know so far and help guide you through this.
many pets have been affected by COVID 19 so far?
While the news seems to be mentioning new cases
all the time, to date (as of 4-29-20) we have SIX total confirmed pets in the
world with COVID 19! Compared to the millions of human cases, this is a very
small number. The six include: 2 dogs and a cat in Hong Kong, and now 2 cats
and a dog in the US. There was also a cat in Belgium, but there are questions
regarding the testing methods and its possible the cat may have been suffering
from another illness.  
happened to those COVID 19 positive pets?
Of the Hong Kong animals, all three of them
never showed signs of respiratory disease; they were only tested because their
owners were positive. One of the Hong Kong dogs did pass away after being
released from quarantine, but the dog was 17 and had ongoing health issues
prior to testing positive. The cat in Belgium made a full recovery from
possible COVID 19. The dog in North Carolina showed only mild signs for a few
days and is now recovered. The New York cats are also expected to make a full
might COVID 19 look like in a house cat?
In the case of the 2 New York cats, they had
mild respiratory signs. While not explicitly stated, this might look like
coughing, nasal discharge, or increased respiratory effort. Remember that any
noticeable respiratory changes are cause for seeking vet attention ASAP. There
are many other causes of respiratory disease and your vet will help you decide
next steps for your pet.
signs did the owners notice in the North Carolina dog that tested positive?
It is important to note that this dog was tested
as part of a study out of Duke University, not because he was showing clinical
signs. As part of the study, they tested all members of the household (the mom
was a doctor, the dad worked in an ER, and they had 2 children), as well as
their 4 pets (2 dogs, a cat and a lizard). Three of the humans tested positive
(mom, dad, and one child), but only one animal tested positive (their pug,
Winston). The family noted he did seem to be “gagging” for a couple of days and
his appetite was down, but he has since recovered.
we need to get our pets tested for COVID?
Routine testing for COVID 19 in pets is not
available or recommended at this time. If you believe your pet is suffering
from COVID 19, you should seek vet attention and they can contact authorities
to authorize testing once more common issues have been ruled out.
did these pets get COVID 19 from?
In the case of the Hong Kong pets, they were all
in the care of someone with confirmed COVID 19. It was recommended that the
pets be put into quarantine when the owners tested positive, and that was where
the testing was done.  One US cat was in
the care of a COVID 19 infected person, but the other had no known contact with
anyone symptomatic for COVID 19. This means that it was likely passed to the
cat by an asymptomatic carrier.
I have to worry about getting COVID 19 from my cat or dog?
The answer is very likely no! There is no proof
that pets are spreading COVID 19 to humans; more likely, humans are spreading
it to pets. Some important things to consider:
Keep your cat inside to prevent them from
interacting with people and animals outside the home
Keep your dog on a leash when walking and
maintain 6 feet distance from other people and animals
Avoid public places like dog parks
I need to worry about giving my pet COVID 19?
The short answer is possibly, however before you
panic, remember that good hygiene practices will make this extremely unlikely.
There is no evidence that an animal should be removed from the home of a person
infected with COVID 19 unless it poses a risk to the pet (i.e. you are too sick
to care for your pet).  Try to have
someone else care for your pet if you become infected. If that is not possible,
then wear a face mask when interacting with your pet, wash your hands before
and after, and avoid close contact (no hugs, snuggles, etc).
Written By: Dr. Erin Walsh, Companion Animal Hospital Mount Prospect

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an
    appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an
    initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for
    your pet.

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