Coronavirus update: what we know and how it could affect the relationship with your pet


Coronavirus update: what we know and how it could affect the relationship with your pet

With Chinese animal shelters overflowing on the mainland as concerned pet owners try to minimise their risk of exposure to the novel Coronavirus (COVID) that has claimed over 3,000 lives globally, the hysteria has started to reach boiling point.

We’ve put together an executive summary of the main FAQ’s we’re receiving and expecting:

What’s the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?

Canine Coronavirus has existed for decades and hardly causes disease in pets, whereas COVID-19 refers to the virus currently causing the global pandemic. COVID-19 is the dangerous one.

Can COVID-19 infect our pets?

Theoretically, it is totally possible. Viruses require special ‘cell surface proteins’ which act like doors to enter a body and cause infection. Without these ‘doors’, viruses can’t attach to human or animal cells and this explains why some species catch certain viruses but can’t spread it to other species.

‘ACE2’ is the ‘door’ COVID-19 uses to infect humans.

The concerning part is that this specific cell surface protein called ‘ACE-2’ is present in both human and our canine friends, making COVID-19 theoretically possible to be passed from humans to dogs.

OK so it’s theoretically possible but has COVID-19 infected any dogs?

Yes. Reports showed a dog last week in Hong Kong tested positive to COVID-19. The World Health Organisation later confirmed this.

Can I catch COVID-19 if my dog caught it from an infected human?

There hasn’t been any confirmed case yet, but we are monitoring the situation.

Does the leptospirosis vaccine protect my dog?

The leptospirosis vaccine contains a coronavirus vaccine also, but this coronavirus vaccine protects against canine coronavirus not COVID-19

I think my pet has coronavirus how can I test my dog or cat for coronavirus?

There is a test called a ‘PCR swab’ that can be performed non-invasively that will pick up coronavirus DNA. The trouble is the test can’t differentiate between COVID-19 and the normal everyday coronavirus that doesn’t harm dogs much.

If you notice symptoms of coughing, sneezing or diarrhoea in your dog, your vet may have coronavirus on their list of things in their mind to consider ruling out.

How can you keep your pet safe outdoors during this Coronavirus outbreak?

So many pets across our city are going stir-crazy with being cooped up in our apartments and houses. From Waterloo to Zetland vets are concerned about coronavirus. For the moment, our advice is it is totally safe to take your dog to the local dog park. Just watch out for coughing, sneezing and diarrhoea in your pets. If they develop these symptoms they almost certainly don’t have COVID-19 but we recommend individual risk assessment where a vet with experience and knowledge in Coronavirus diseases can take into account the individual circumstances, travel habits of people who could have interacted with your pet and other risk factors to make a personalised treatment plan. That vet is Dr Sam. Make your coronavirus risk assessment with Dr Sam today here…