Can Our Pet Cats and Dogs Get Covid 19?
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched for over two years and changed our lives. While there has been plenty of press coverage about COVID-19 transmission and symptoms in humans, what about pets?
Your dog or cat can get COVID-19, just like you can. There are some differences in how the virus behaves in pets. But your pet might experience some of the same symptoms that you develop. Understanding the details about COVID-19 and pets can ensure you are prepared if you or your pet ever get sick.
Can My Dog or Cat Get COVID-19?
Veterinarians explain that cats and dogs can get COVID-19. Most pets get SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are infected with the virus. Since the Omicron variant spreads more easily between humans, transmitting this variant to pets may be more manageable. Cats are also more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 than dogs are.
Additionally, pets with certain chronic diseases are also more at risk of getting COVID-19. Conditions that may increase your pet's risk of getting the virus include:
Can Pets Get COVID-19 From Their Guardians?
Can dogs and cats get COVID-19 from people? The CDC reports that COVID-19 can spread from people to both dogs and cats. This transmission occurs when pets have close contact with a human who is positive for the virus.
The thought of your pet getting COVID-19 can be frightening. While you might be tempted to put a mask on your pet, do not do this. Masks could potentially harm your pet. If someone in your house has COVID-19, wearing a mask at home and quarantining away from your pets can help protect them.
Can pets spread COVID-19?
The CDC reports a minimal risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to humans. There is also no evidence that you can get COVID-19 from your pet's skin, fur, or hair. COVID-19 primarily spreads through airborne respiratory droplets.
It is essential to avoid using disinfectants or human sanitizer products on your pet. Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, and surface cleaners could all harm your pet. Your vet can recommend appropriate bathing and cleaning products that are safe for your pet.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in Dogs and Cats
Several symptoms may alert you that your pet has COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 in dogs and cats can include:
Is There a Test For COVID-19 in Pets?
Yes, there is a COVID-19 test for pets. Your veterinarian can help you decide whether you should get your pet tested. They may recommend a COVID-19 test if your dog or cat was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. They may also recommend a test based on your pet's symptoms. But your vet might start by ruling out more common pet illnesses that cause similar symptoms.
Remember that at-home COVID-19 tests are designed for people, not animals. Ask your veterinarian if you have questions about COVID-19 testing and your pet.
What Should I Do if My Pet Has COVID?
If you think your pet has COVID-19, contact your veterinarian. Discuss the signs your pet is displaying and the probability of COVID-19 exposure. Your vet will decide if your pet's exposure to COVID-19 warrants a test.
Do not take your pet immediately to your veterinarian's office if you think they may have COVID-19. Call ahead to find out how your vet wants to proceed. Your vet may want to create an alternative plan to treat your pet, like a telemedicine consult.
If your pet tests positive for COVID-19, keep them isolated at home. If you have a cat, keep them indoors so they do not wander. Plan on keeping your pet at home except when you need to travel for veterinary care. While your pet is in isolation at home, carefully monitor its symptoms. Look for signs of their symptoms worsening and watch for new symptoms. Contact your veterinarian if you notice either of these changes. It may be helpful to write down your pet's symptoms each day.
Your vet will advise when you can safely end your pet's isolation period. In general, your pet can resume normal activities when they have been symptom-free for at least 72 hours, and it's been at least 14 days since the most recent positive test. A negative follow-up test may also mean that you can let your pet out of isolation.
Should I Quarantine Away From My Pet if I Have COVID-19?
If you catch COVID-19, you should avoid close contact with your pets as much as possible. It means you should not pet, snuggle, kiss, or share food with your pet. You should also avoid sleeping in the same bed as your pet while sick.
It is imperative to avoid close contact with your pet if they have any long-term diseases. It may be challenging to keep your pet distanced while you're sick. But these measures could help protect your pet from getting COVID-19.
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