Corona and Its Effect on Dogs
The World Health Organization declares coronavirus as a global pandemic, and the fuss over the spread of this fatal virus has people worrying both about themselves and their pets. But can dogs get coronavirus?
Some types of coronaviruses infect animals and can infect and spread among humans through those animals. But this is not very common. Some of the diseases caused by such coronaviruses that originate in animals are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These are called zoonotic diseases. The Covid-19 outbreak is suspected of having a similar origin, originated from animal food markets in Wuhan, China. But the exact source of this virus is yet to be figured.
Why are dogs not victims of coronavirus?
Companion mammals like dogs can contract certain species of coronavirus, like the canine respiratory coronavirus. But according to scientists and researchers, Covid-19 is not a threat to dogs. And up to date, there is no substantial evidence to prove that these animals can transmit Covid-19, unlike humans. Even though it is true that the virus has an animal origin, it now spreads from human to human interactions. Mainly through droplets of cough, sneeze or speak projected by a person carrying coronavirus. Therefore, it is not necessary and justifiable to abandon or take action against companion animals. And petting and pampering pets are not discouraged. Currently, dogs and other companion animals are not at risk due to Covid-19. But by carrying further studies, the extent of the effect of this virus on them can be understood.
The pet of a person infected with coronavirus in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian dog, tested “weak positive” to having coronavirus. The animal did not show any signs of symptoms even though it was under quarantine for two weeks after which it died testing negative beforehand. According to the health officials, the dog did not possibly carry the virus but tested positive as a result of environmental contamination.
Should pet owners worry about their pets?
There is no substantial evidence that animals can carry this deadly virus. But, if a person has coronavirus and pets a dog, the droplets carrying the virus can land on the coat of the animal. And these droplets can act as a means of transmission to another human. Therefore, an infected person should stay away from pets. Or should undertake precautionary measures like washing hands frequently, disinfecting possible surfaces acting as fomites and bathing dogs more regularly than before. These practices minimize the tendency of the animal to become a fomite. As found by scientists, the coronavirus survives best in metal and other smooth surfaces like doorknobs and counter surfaces.
Precautions to follow
If in case, a person is infected with coronavirus and is sick, this person should be quarantined both from human and animal contact. A healthy person should always take care of the pet. And if it is not possible, the person infected should wear a face mask and should thoroughly wash hands with a disinfectant containing at least 60% alcohol for twenty seconds. That is both before and after feeding. If the government has not imposed any curfew, and the surrounding is safe to venture, owners can walk their dogs. But it is always recommended to distance pets from gatherings. Owners should make sure to wash hands before and after these walks. And it is encouraged to clean the paws of the pets as they come in and out of the house
For now, pet owners can adhere to basic hygienic protocols for which they undertake despite Covid-19. No extreme measures are encouraged on and the simple practices like washing hands properly after having contact with a pet. And dogs, do not need a face mask to detain themselves from the coronavirus.
According to the most recent studies, dogs are not capable of spreading or transmitting the deadly coronavirus. It only disperses via human to human contacts. But it is always precautionary to distance dogs and other pets from a person infected with Covid-19 because the fur coat can behave as fomites which support this virus to go places. Therefore, scientists and veterinarians advise pet owners to wash their hands frequently before and after feeding, walking, or petting them. Pet owners do not have to panic unnecessarily and take rash decisions on their pets like abandoning them. Keep them away from gatherings as we humans quarantine themselves in these times.
Other: Top 10 Dog Viruses 2020