Can pets get COVID-19?

March 19, 2021 COVID-19

Can pets get COVID-19?

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the planet infecting humans many have asked can this affect our domestic pets. COVID-19 is highly contagious between humans, however evidence of transmission from animals to humans is limited, although human to animal transmission is possible.

Could my pet contract COVID-19?

Studies around the world have looked into the transmission of COVID-19 to our domestic pets.

Some species can contract COVID-19 following close contact with infected humans. A study in Hong Kong found that a small number of dogs that had been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected patient tested positive. Other cases of infected cats have been reported in Hong Kong and Belgium.

Some evidence collected to date shows the following risks for domestic pets:

  • Dogs: Whilst dogs can become infected following contact with infected humans, it is rare, they display mild or no symptoms and they cannot transmit the infection further.
  • Rabbits:  Similar to dogs, whilst rabbits can become infected, they show no symptoms and do not transmit the virus to other rabbits or other species.
  • Cats: Can catch COVID-19 from infected humans but display mild or no symptoms. Whilst they can spread the infection to other cats, there is no evidence to date that they transmit back to humans.

Can your pet get tested?

The majority of pets who have become infected with COVID-19 display mild or no symptoms and this can be managed at home. As the risk of pets playing a role in the spreading of the disease is low, testing of pets is only recommended when an animal develops symptoms and has been in contact with an infected human.

Similar rules can apply for an animal that tests positive for Covid-19 such as Quarantine, monitoring symptoms, and taking precautions.

Tips for quarantining your pet:

  • Keep at home unless under veterinarian care.
  • Do not visit groomers, daycare or human medical centers, or education centers.
  • Do not visit parks/try and use private gardens e.g. dogs should not be taken on a walk for the quarantine period.
  • Monitor symptoms such as fever, lethargy, coughing and sneezing, eye discharge, and gastric problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.