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An employee takes a cat’s temperature at a cat café in Bangkok. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Can my pets or animals get the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, infect only animals and do not infect humans, according to CDC (The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

While the specific source of origin isn't known, the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have started in an animal, spread to humans and then spread between people.

Covid-19 in dogs and cats

Some pets — including cats and dogs — also have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. This happened mostly after the animals were in close contact with people infected with the COVID-19 virus, According to CDC and FDA (U.S Foods and Drugs Administration).

Based on the limited available information, the risk of animals spreading the COVID-19 virus to people is considered low. Animals don't appear to play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. There is no evidence that viruses can spread to people or other animals from a pet's skin, fur or hair. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reportedexternal icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

If You Have Pets, you should know:

  • It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
  • Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
  • If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
  • This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to dogs and cats

We are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. A small cats and dogs have been reportedexternal icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

Infected pets, including dogs and cats, might get sick or they might not have any symptoms. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most only had mild illness and fully recovered.

To protect your dogs and cats from the COVID-19

Accoding to William F. Marshall, III M.D (Mayoclinic), to protect your pet from the COVID-19 virus, don't let your dog or cat interact with people or animals outside your household.

For example:

  • Avoid dog parks or public places where many people and dogs gather.
  • When walking your dog, make sure your dog wears a leash and keep your dog at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible.

If you become sick with COVID-19 and have a dog or cats

  • Isolate yourself from everyone else, including your pet. If possible, have another person in your household care for your pet.
  • Avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding with your pet.
  • If you care for your pet or are around animals while you're sick, wear a cloth face covering. Wash your hands before and after handling animals and their food, waste and supplies. Also, make sure you clean up after your pet.

If you have COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, don't take your pet to the veterinarian yourself. Instead, contact the veterinarian. He or she might offer advice through a virtual visit or make another plan for treating your pet. Testing is only recommended for pets that have symptoms and have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.

If your pet tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the same precautions you would if a family member became infected. Aim to isolate your pet in a separate room away from the rest of your family and have your pet stay at home. Wear gloves when you interact with your pet or its food, dishes, waste or bedding. Wash your hands after touching any of your pet's items. Don't put a face covering on your pet and don't wipe your pet with disinfectants, which can be harmful. If your pet develops new symptoms or seems to be getting worse, call the veterinarian.

If your pet becomes ill, there's reason to be hopeful. Of the small number of dogs and cats confirmed to have the virus that causes COVID-19, some didn't show any signs of illness. The pets that did become ill only experienced mild symptoms and could be cared for at home. None of them died, William F. Marshall, III M.D said to Mayoclinic.
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