Can my dog or cat catch #coronavirus?

Can my dog or cat catch #coronavirus?

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Can my dog or cat catch #coronavirus?
Picture GETTY IMAGES Can pets contract coronavirus and if so can they spread it to other animals or to humans? What’s the evidence? Cats can catch flu from people and some have caught the Covid-19 virus. And this has been backed up by laboratory proof. There have also been isolated cases of dogs testing positive for the […]
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Dog and cat

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Can pets contract coronavirus and if so can they spread it to other animals or to humans?

What’s the evidence?

Cats can catch flu from people and some have caught the Covid-19 virus.

And this has been backed up by laboratory proof.

There have also been isolated cases of dogs testing positive for the virus, in Hong Kong.

However none of the pets involved became significantly ill with Covid-19.

Scientists are investigating why.

But the virus may not replicate in the animals’ cells in the way it does in human cells.

Can a dog or cat transmit coronavirus to people?

That is highly unlikely to happen, according to scientists and vets.

There have been no instances of pets passing the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 to people.

And the same was true during the 2013 outbreak of Sars, a very closely related virus.

Could a pet’s fur become contaminated if an infected person has previously touched or stroked the animal?

University of Nottingham associate professor of veterinary virology Dr Rachael Tarlinton says: “This is theoretically possible, the same as for any other surface, like a person’s hands or clothing, however we have not actually seen this occur in any cases thus far.”

The usual advice applies – wash your hands well with soap and water after touching any pets or things comparable to leads.

And to guard one another for the time being, the RSPCA says it’s best to keep away from kissing your pet.

How do I keep my pet safe if I am self-isolating?

It’s worth thinking about how you’d cater for your pet’s needs if you have to self-isolate.

The RSPCA says dogs can be let out into your garden, if you have one, or otherwise simply outside your front door to go to the toilet.

If you have a cat used to staying in your home, keep it indoors as you would with any other member of your family.

Also, regularly clean its litter tray.

If you own an outdoor cat, then try to keep your interactions with it to a minimal.

And if you are sick, restrict close contact with your pets.

What are the rules on dog-walking?

A woman walks two dogs in an empty street

Picture GETTY IMAGES

If you have a dog that needs walking, you can combine that with your one permitted session of outdoor exercise a day.

However remember, as you would if you were exercising on your own or with other family members, to always keep at least 2m (6ft) away from other people.

The government has not given advice on if a dog needs to be kept on its lead but some parks, including the royal parks, are strongly advising this.

This is to make it easier to stick to social-distancing advice.

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