THE first case of an animal tested positive for the virus was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City and a dog in Hong Kong.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said animals infected with some coronaviruses can spread the disease to humans and then spread between people. However, it said that this is rare. Although there is a small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after having contact with a person with COVID-19.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are examples of diseases caused by coronaviruses that originated in animals and spread to people. This is what is suspected to have happened with the virus that caused the current outbreak of COVID-19. The coronavirus most similar to the virus causing COVID-19 is the one that causes SARS.
Though an animal owner can get infected by his pet(s), the risk of animal-to-human infection of COVID-19 is considered to be low given the lack of data to confirm it.
Until there is no enough evidence about how the virus could affect animals and pass it to humans, CDC suggested that owners should treat and protect their pets from a possible infection.
Here are tips to do if you own pets:
* Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
* Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other cats or people.
* Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
* If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
* Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
* Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.