Every time there’s a medical phenomenon, the world is getting awash with wrong and misleading information, just like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and if cats and dogs are susceptible to it. There are several reports of pets contracting the virus which lived near people who are infected by it, but the question is, could they transmit it back to us humans? In this article, we’ll delve into the details and enumerate what information we have and more crucially, what we don’t currently have.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC say that currently, we don’t yet hold concrete evidence that animals have the potential to spread the virus which causes COVID-19. Because the information we have now is limited, they conclude that the possibility of animals transmitting COVID-19 to humans is highly unlikely. This statement by the CDC is backed by the World Organisation for Animal Health when then went on to say that COVID-19 transmission is currently human-to-human, and as we don’t yet have much information about this matter, we cannot recommend taking drastic action against animals that would affect how they normally live.
Can Virus Stick to Animal Skin or Fur?
Animal hair and skin naturally inhibit several kinds of fungi and bacteria, but it is not proven that viruses which include the one that causes COVID-19 can be contracted through direct contact with its hair or skin. This, however, is not to say that other germs that animals can transmit through their hair and skin cannot make people sick, that’s why it’s important that each and every time we touch or play with our pets, to wash our hands thoroughly.
What About Animal Shelters?
The easiest and shortest answer to that is yes. Since it hasn’t been proven yet that animals can transmit COVID-19 to humans, that means animal shelters are safe. If anything, there’s no better time than now to adopt a pet, because animal shelters now are understaffed and operate shorter hours so they desperately need people to adopt animals so they can make room for the incoming. In addition, since you have more time at home than ever, you could release pent up stress by training your newly adopted pet.
How Does COVID-19 Differ From The Feline and Canine Coronavirus?
Even though cats and dogs are seemingly unaffected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, they do however each has their own versions of coronavirus they have to deal with, and these versions do not have the capability of infecting humans.
CECoV or canine enteric coronavirus infects do, and it would usually cause them to have diarrhea. Puppies are the most susceptible to the CECoV, but regardless of age dogs seem to recover from the CECoV without even being given veterinary care. That’s not the only coronavirus though that affects dogs, there’s also the CRCoV or the canine respiratory coronavirus that’s said to be caused by kennel cough among dogs.
The FCoV or Feline coronavirus causes cats roughly the same set of debilitating effects like the ones with dogs. Kittens are also the most susceptible, there are also very few and rare cases where the virus would stay dormant in the body and mutate to form a new disease called the feline infectious peritonitis of FIP which is known to be very fatal.
Where’s The Origin of COVID-19?
Scientists say that the exact origin of COVID-19 is still not known, although studies that have been done in order to locate the source mostly point to bats to be the source along with an unknown intermediary host that’s most probably involved. Almost all viruses only have the ability to infect a few numbers of species, and susceptibility is mostly determined by the virus’s capability to recognize receptors on host cells. But, collectively, coronaviruses seem designed to mutate and be able to infect a new set of species.
What Should we do?
It can be quite a handful for us to face a pandemic just like the COVID-19, and being a pet owner doesn’t exactly help with your worries, because they would add to the things you already worry about. But we can always do something to improve our situation.
It is crucial to keep in mind that viruses always evolve, to be able to keep, what you can do to keep informed is to constantly follow trusted news sources. You could follow the CDC’s frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and animals.
Help Mitigate COVID-19 Spread
You cannot beat old-fashioned good hygiene, it is out there as one of our most effective defenses against any infections that are lurking around. Just frequently wash your hands using water and soap, most especially after being around people who are sick or touching animals or their wastes.