Can animals get coronavirus? When the global pandemic first hit, there were many questions that went unanswered around exactly who could get COVID-19 and who could spread it. It’s something us animal lovers have asked about for a while – as you’ll know if you’ve read our article on COVID-19 in animals.
The short answer is that yes, animals can get coronavirus. Cats, dogs, and other animals have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus pathogen that causes COVID-19. But it’s not as concerning as COVID in humans, you’ll be glad to hear. Cats and dogs generally have mild symptoms, if they show any symptoms at all.
In part two of our original COVID series, we looked into a COVID-19 vaccination for pets. And it turns out this is in development. But for now, focus on the human vaccinations and don’t worry about getting one for your pets.
So why look any further into the question of “can animals get coronavirus?” Well, now that we’re into another wave, we thought it was time to do more research and provide an update with the latest news and developments.
Coronavirus and animals
Coronavirus variants in pets have been around for ages. But the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new. Research is ongoing to find out what potential implications there might be in future when it comes to animals getting coronavirus.
Back in March – which seems like years ago now in terms of COVID! – the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tweeted that nearly 100 pets in the U.S had tested positive.
There have been a lot more confirmed cases since then. But as compared to humans, the scale of testing on animals is very small. That said, research seems to indicate one in about five pets will catch the disease from their owners.
The Delta variant has been making headlines across the world and obviously most of those infected are human. However, cases have now been confirmed in zoo lions. It’s not a complete surprise because lions are susceptible to other COVID-19 variants too – just like cats and dogs.
Should you take distancing measures?
When asking ‘can animals get coronavirus?” usually people are concerned about two things; whether they might be able to spread the virus to their pets, or whether pets might be able to spread it to them.
The truth is that yes, you can pass COVID-19 on to your pets. So if you do test positive, it’s sensible to practice good hygiene and try to social distance from your pets if possible.
Cats tend to experience a higher rate of infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus than dogs. But it’s not all bad news. Cats and dogs tend to have very mild symptoms, plus the CDC has assured us that “the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is considered to be low.”
So, the chances of you getting it from a dog or cat are not worrisome – which means you don’t need to stop saying hello to furry friends! Still, best to do that from a distance.
Here’s a video showing some of the latest research…
Can animals get coronavirus? Yes. Here’s how you can help
If you’re sick with COVID-19 or you’ve had exposure to the virus, here are some steps you can take to protect your pet:
- Get someone to ‘pet sit’. While you self-isolate, someone else in your home (or a neighbour or similar) should take care of your pet until you’re non-infectious.
- Social distance. It’s difficult, especially if you’re feeling under the weather and just want cuddles, but it’s best to stop contact with your pet. Social distance the way you would with humans, meaning you stay at least 1.5m away and don’t touch them. Snuggles are out. At least temporarily.
- Practice good hygiene. If you don’t have anyone who can care for your pet, take extra precautions. Wear a mask around them, wash your hands, sanitise frequently, and do your best to keep them safe.
If you think your pet might have COVID, don’t make a trip to the clinic. Instead, phone or email to get tailored advice from your vet. In most cases of coronavirus in animals, home care is the best method of recovery.
Pet insurance for cats and dogs
Prevention is better than cure, as a general rule of thumb. But when it comes to medical things, it’s important to plan for the worst eventuality. That’s why the best protection you can give your pet is pet insurance.
View our pet insurance plans to decide which one fits your lifestyle needs best, and get a quote to start safeguarding your pet’s future.